In The Quality of Mercy, one of the world’s most revered theatre directors reflects on a fascinating variety of Shakespearean topics.
In this sequence of essays – all but one published here for the first time – Peter Brook debates such questions as who was the man who wrote Shakespeare’s plays, why Shakespeare is never out of date, and how actors should approach Shakespeare’s verse. He also revisits some of the plays which he has directed with notable brilliance, such as King Lear, Titus Andronicus and, of course, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Taken as a whole, this short but immensely wise book offers an illuminating and provocative insight into a great director’s relationship with our greatest playwright.
‘An invaluable gift from the greatest Shakespeare director of our time… Brook’s genius, modesty, and brilliance shine through on every page’ James Shapiro, author of 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare
‘Exquisite… enthralling… This short, modest and brilliant book does more than many more grandiose tomes to renew the reader’s fascination with the plays, and the theatre-goer’s wonder at the extraordinary and diverse sensations locked up inside the First Folio. It should be required reading at all universities and drama clubs’
‘Contains within its scintillating reflections the essence of all that Peter Brook has learned over a lifetime. Whoever imagined that a book about Shakespeare could also be such fun?’
— Wall Street Journal
‘This volume positively seethes and sparkles with ideas… provides not only acute insights into the texts, but intriguing details of performance history, and a few morsels of grand theatrical gossip’
‘Should be required reading for any aspiring young directors and actors but also all serious theatregoers… the writing is a model of clarity, the ideas challenging but sensible… it should be on every reader’s bookshelf’
— British Theatre Guide
‘If you want a gift for an actor, look no further than this educative, engrossing, entertaining book’
— The Stage
‘Each new page you turn is a delight. And all written in such an unpretentious, gentle, often amusing style. A joy’