Peter Brook’s “Battlefield”, Capitol Theatre, Singapore

Peter Brook's "Battlefield", Capitol Theatre, Singapore

SH, having waxed lyrical about Peter Brook’s Mahabharata, generously bought us second row seats to what might be the great theatre director’s last play, Battlefield.

In contrast to the sweep of human history and meta-conflict that was the Mahabharata, Battlefield put a magnifying glass to the aftermath of that terrible battle at Kurukshetra, where the earth is soaked red with blood, and a multitude of the dead lie unburied.

Peter Brook's "Battlefield", Capitol Theatre, Singapore

Efficient in narrative, compact in stage design and use of actors and costumes and props, I thoroughly enjoyed how the cast of just 4 actors were able to portray different characters with simple (not simplistic) good acting. They were accompanied by the tone-setting minimalistic drumming of Japanese percussionist, Toshi Tsuchitori. (We heard each word distinctly from the second row but friends further back complained of bad acoustics.)

The actors’ range of different races and accents ensured that the issues raised (about the the finality of death, the emptiness of a world with less living beings, the senselessness yet inevitability of continued conflict and war, the characteristics necessary in kings or leader) were not limited to an ancient Hindu text but as relevant to the Vietnam War as they are to the escalating violence in Syria today.

I do not think there were any answers. I do not think there were meant to be any.

Peter Brook's "Battlefield", Capitol Theatre, Singapore

“The other war,” asks Yudishtira,”where will it take place? In the battlefield or in my heart?”
Krishna,”I don’t see a real difference.”


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