It would have been too much to expect for the Los Angeles press corps to fill up Raleigh Studios' spacious sound stage 12 Monday morning, but the reporters who showed up for "The Mahabharata" director Peter Brook's press conference--the first of the Los Angeles Festival--were entirely too few.
Seated on the spacious red clay expanse that serves as set for Brook's nine-hour staging of the epic Indian poem, were festival director Robert J. Fitzpatrick and some of Brook's closest associates, including writer Jean-Claude Carriere, set and costume designer Chloe Obolensky, actor and fight choreographer Alain Maratrat, musician Kim Menzer and actors Mavuso Mavuso and Tapa Sudana.
"Each person has a very strict responsibility, but in fact all the people here overlap," Brook said.
Carriere recalled how he and Brook first came across "The Mahabharata" in 1976, enthralled by scholar Philippe Lavastine's retelling of its tales (an allegory of the family of man), and how he and Brook, steeped in its wonders, shook hands on a Paris street corner late one night, vowing to do it.
"This man told stories in such a warm, beautiful way that we were like two children," Carriere said. "Peter said to me 'Jean-Claude, we will do it when it is ready--and it will be as long as it needs to be.' "