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“Why theater at all?” is a question that has driven British director Peter Brook since his debut at age 18. World-renowned for his stage and film productions, including Marat-Sade, King Lear, The Mahabharata, and Lord of the Flies, the former co-director of the Royal Shakespeare Company reflects on more than 50 years of practical innovation and cultural synthesis in his new autobiography, Threads of Time: Recollections: “Theater is not just a place, not simply a profession. It is a metaphor. It helps to make the process of life more clear.” Brook’s unflagging pursuit of a universal, nonverbal language has taken him from the ghettos of Brooklyn to Chavez’s California, and throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, creating theater to uncover the essence of human communication. The man who once wrote, “I have sometimes been accused of wanting to destroy the spoken word,” will speak tonight at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol St. SE. $40. (202) 544-7077. (Amanda Fazzone)