by John Ellis
The brilliant director, acting teacher, and theatre theorist Peter Brook opened his seminal book The Empty Space with these well-known sentences:
I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone else is watching him, and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged.
To be fair, those sentences are probably not well-known to most people. But most people aren’t theatre artists. And in the world of theatre, those sentences hold a place of prominence and respect bordering on sacrosanct. Sadly, in my experience, while many of my theatre colleagues expressed love and admiration for Brook’s opening sentences, few took his teachings in The Empty Space with them as they entered in to the making of theatre.