Already closed | 1h 10m | Brooklyn


From 19 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Slow, Profound, Ambitious, Masterful

About the show

BAM presents the U.S. premiere of Peter Brook's adaptation of the Sanskrit epic 'The Mahabharata,' about a King's struggle to rule in a post-civil war society. Part of BAM's 2016 Next Wave Festival. More…

Thirty years after his legendary sunset-to-sunrise production of 'The Mahabharata' consecrated the BAM Harvey stage, legendary director Peter Brook returns with 'Battlefield,' a distillation of the central story in the ancient Sanskrit poem. In the wake of an apocalyptic civil war, a remorseful King Yudishtira—his hands still bloodied from the carnage—desperately seeks some just way to rule over murderers and victims alike. Silk scarves become rivers and shrouds; four actors are reincarnated as worms and eagles, victims, and perpetrators; and a single instrumentalist scores the bleak peace of oblivion, giving haunting new life to this staggering Indian epic.

Member Reviews (19)


Great acting, Slow, Profound, Ambitious, Masterful
Avg Score

Slow, Indulgent, Overrated, Ambitious, Intelligent

See it if You're Brook fan, never seen the original, like to explore huge moral issues via an Indian folktale with a few stunning stage images

Don't see it if You expect an action-packed look at aftermath of a cataclysmic war or extensive use of Indian theatre techniques. Don't like dry allegories

Epic, Intelligent, Slow, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if you want to see a production by the legendary Peter Brook. While I enjoyed the first half, the second half kind of lost its focus.

Don't see it if you are easily bored by the occasional long, droning speech. This work is still so relevant to today–I'd give it a chance.

Absorbing, Great acting, Resonant, Ambitious, Epic

See it if for an exploration by a theatrical genius of conflict and its effects on humans. Brook is a rare bird and deserves his devoted audience.

Don't see it if you don't like any philosophy onstage, or want a lot of action or elaborate sets/costumes. This is a quiet but moving and gorgeous piece.

Exquisite, Great acting, Great staging, Masterful, Resonant

See it if you would like to sample in miniature a legendary production with astonishingly graceful acting and staging.

Don't see it if you believe an epic should have a big cast, a lengthy running time, and a large and hyperactive staging.

Absorbing, Intense, Masterful, Riveting, Profound

See it if You want a mesmerizing, breathtaking, borderline religious experience.

Don't see it if you need flashy staging, flashy costumes, and don't want to sit still and join in communion with the actors.

Also The first fifteen minutes of the show I felt apprehension, and even bo... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Slow, Excruciating

See it if I started Ushering at BAM so was excited to see this, unfortunately I worked it twice and was bored both times

Don't see it if Want an entertaining evening of theater

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if Sorry Battlefield had such a short run.

Don't see it if Sorry, it is over.

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if you are interested in watching four actors transform and tell an expansive epic story using simply sticks, scarves and their instruments.

Don't see it if you love big spectacle shows.

Disappointing, Confusing, Static

See it if You will see anything by Peter brook, as I will, but won't be as disappointed as I was.

Don't see it if You are looking for a static, undramatic, play that takes Peter brooks 9 hour Mahabharata and unsucessfully tries to reduce it to one hour

Great staging, Profound, Relevant, Masterful writing, Intelligent

See it if you like having your imagination activated while being asked and guided through big questions

Don't see it if you think theater is a passive engagement or you just want entertainment

Great acting, Ambitious, Masterful, Folktales, Storytelling

See it if You want to see the work of Peter Brook and have heard of his legendary Mahabharata, from which this play is taken. 5 actors, 1 drummer.

Don't see it if You like traditional drama--this is storytelling/folktale on a simple set, masterfully presented.

Ambitious, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if You can enter a slower, more visceral world

Don't see it if you need your theater to be all cliff-hanger and fast movement

Great acting, Masterful, Resonant, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if You want a cultural experience, filled with deep storytelling.

Don't see it if you can't remember a bunch of names at once or have no interest in non-Western stories or story-telling traditions.

Clever, Dated, Great acting, Profound, Slow

See it if You are familiar with the story and want to see a fresh take on it.

Don't see it if You like grand costumes/sets and elaborate staging.

Cliched, Excruciating, Overrated, Banal, Insipid

See it if I can't think of one single thing to cause you to want to see it. Fortunately, the torture is pretty short.

Don't see it if ...inept writing and sub-inept acting are not your cup of tea. Endless (and slow) stream of pseudo-philosophical mambo-jumbo.

Disappointing, Confusing, Slow, Overrated, Excruciating

See it if You enjoy emotionless experimental theatre

Don't see it if You prefer fast paced plays full of drama and emotion

Masterful, Profound

See it if you missed the original . . . or, if you MUST see a Peter Brook piece.

Don't see it if can't appreciate an Asian aesthetic.

Disappointing, Confusing, Banal, Great acting, Dated

See it if Folks who have seen the Mahabharata

Don't see it if You loved the Mahabharara

Masterful, Profound, Relevant

See it if You are open and can appreciate silence

Don't see it if You only like thanks that are loud and edgy.

September 30th, 2016
"An elegiac play of stark and uncommon beauty…Any sense that its scenes, with their homiletic wisdom, are ripe for parody is forestalled by the acting. It is a style of eloquent economy, which embraces wit as well as solemnity...In recent years, Mr. Brook has been moving toward a distillation of ...
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October 1st, 2016
"Brook and Estienne clearly find profound, present meaning in this tale of Pyrrhic victory. But the didactic, story-time quality of the production dims the ancient source's radiance...Brook and Estienne preside over something graceful, all elements smiling meaningfully, the gurus delivering wisdo...
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October 1st, 2016
"The questions raised by the story are eternal. All are stripped down to their plainest form and enacted with passion and nimbleness by the superb cast of four...The production’s deliberate limitation of expressive tricks created emotions so inverse-proportionally large that they could only be re...
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October 4th, 2016
"There's a great amount of reflection, but precious little action in this sleepy adaptation of the legendary theatrical event...The actors all speak in a uniformly halting and deliberate tone, seemingly meant to emphasize the fact that the story they're telling is very important...With its mystic...
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