A somewhat different Shakespearean dream

Peter Brook is proud of his daughter. That is obvious from the way he looked at her when journalists addressed most of their questions to her as Irina Brook the director, rather than the daughter of the famous director. In an imposing hall with high ceilings in the Hotel Grande Bretagne, Peter Brook made his introduction. «This is our first joint press conference, despite the fact that Irina has been a director for the past 11 years.» Father and daughter were both in town for their respective theater performances, as part of this year’s program of the Theater Beyond Borders festival, organized by the Attiki Cultural Center. The festival opened with distinguished director Peter Brook’s «Warum Warum» (Why, Why), which was staged at the Dimitris Horn Theater earlier in the week. Now it is Irina’s turn, whose work «Waiting for the Dream,» based on Shakespeare’s «Midsummer Night’s Dream,» premiered at the same theater yesterday and will be staged until tomorrow. «I have always carried the magic of this sublime text with me. I almost knew it by heart as it was the first play I ever saw in the theater, in one of my father’s productions in England. It was a revelation that has never left me.» Yet she confessed that she had always considered this play as a «forbidden» work, precisely because her father had staged it. «I always hoped I wouldn’t have any influence on my daughter’s creativity,» said the discreet Peter Brook, interrupting his daughter. But he seems to have had an influence, as she herself admitted with a grin. «I have a big, pleasant problem: My DNA pushed me straight to the simple form of theater, without first experimenting with the big show, the flashy lights and costumes. My family wanderings with the Centre International de Recherche Theatrale in Iran, Africa and America during the 1970s have taught me that theater can come out of the simplest things.» Three years ago, in the French countryside, Brook decided to tackle «The Dream:» Six men took all of the roles, using borrowed accessories, nightdresses and kitchenware. Her insistence on these interpretations and on the male cast gave Irina Brook’s performance a genuinely Shakespearean feeling, even without the admirable, trademark high white ruffs… Or perhaps because of the lack of them. Dimitris Horn Theater, 10 Amerikis, tel 210.361.2500.