PRINT April 1995


Peter Brook's The Man Who

The Man Who, directed by Peter Brook, Majestic Theater, BAM

In An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748), David Hume, the skeptical Scot, wrote that “custom is the great guide of human life,” arguing that quotidian habit is what allows us to believe we have stable, continuous identities. But some of us aren’t that lucky, as theater director Peter Brook shows in The Man Who, his pellucid depiction of neuropathic patients who are “constantly struggling to remake a life instant to instant.” Ironically, perhaps, the work shows Brook continuing a 50-year habit of his own—the habit of using the stage as an investigative laboratory. For him, The Man Who is not a play but a “theatrical research, ” by which he seeks a “language of music and gestures that would enable an audience to watch a play in the way a doctor observes his patients.” No mere clinical experiment, the production’s multiethnic

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