In conclusion, a reminiscence
A grand and beautiful theatre building stands near Gare du Nord in Paris since as early as 1876. It is somewhat pompous and quasi-monumental, as if it were meant to be a place for important events. It was renowned and remembered under different names, but it became really important in 1974, when Peter Brook chose it as the site of his International Centre for Theatre Research (thus saving it from inevitable demolition since the site had been planned for a parking lot). Today, it is perhaps the best known theatre in Paris. They call it simply Bouffes du Nord.
By renovating the building of the Bouffes du Nord, and especially its stage and auditorium, Brook put in an enormous amount of effort to preserve, demonstrate, revalorize, and even impose the entire history/memory that has accumulated over the past decades under its high ceilings and on its massive staircases…All over the interior one can see the traces of the various coats of paint applied long ago (some shade of heavy dark red prevails!), fragments of ornaments from the past, holes and crevices that remained after same repair work done in former periods, patches and additions made by some dead hands.
While you are at Bouffes du Nord watching some play, it does not matter which one, you cannot help but feel the heavy pressure of the accumulated theatrical memory and therefore, you experience it as a place of powerful symbolism. A place quite alienating in some sense.
A site of memory.
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