Steven Berkoff

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STEVEN BERKOFF
 Seven states of tension.
 Berkoff’s work exists at 1 , 2 and 6, 7- it is all about extremes.
 Freezes should be held with great tension and with
exaggerated facial expressions
 ‘Movement is another language’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVPSgGHxIxQ&safe=active
BERKOFF’S THEATRE
 The Actor creates the whole environment physically.
 All props are mimed or physically embodied by part of the actors
anatomy
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HX 2sKH3l7eM&safe=active
 This should make theatre more of a spectacle
 Test the level of physical control by using extremes of pace slow/ fast
 “I despise naturalism, a good actor should need no props.”
Berkoff
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= 2ZQOEZO1n10
INFLUENCES
 Physical Theatre of Jacques Le Coq
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Mime
Creating the environment physically
7 states of tension
Heightened Gesture
 Brecht’s alienation
 Plays seek not to recreate real life, but to revel in the spectacle of
theatre
 At times plays have been episodic and had a political message (Sink The
Belgrano)
 The notion of Gestus and exaggerated characters/ stereotypes
 Greek Theatre
 Use of a chorus
 Long verse speeches
 Directly addressing an audience
SO TO PLAY A BERKOFF CHARACTER
 You should have hyperbolic physicality (clear Gestusheightened gesture) play up the stereotype.
 Play with the rhythm and tempo of the verse, enjoy the flow of
the language
 Deliver dialogue straight out to the audience- not to the other
actor
 Create the environment around you physically using mime and
sound effects
 Play the scene with great tension in your body.
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2ePpFxRgDQ&list=FL4_W_
gCizNgZauB_gFEZzqg
MAJOR BERKOFF PLAYS
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‘Newer Berkoff’* offensive, shocking, character driven plays
East
West
Greek
Kvetch
Decadence
 ‘Older Berkoff’ dark, chorus driven plays
 The Trial
 Metamorphosis
* I say ‘newer’ but these plays came out between 1975 and 1986,
so they are all about 30 years old! – after this he tended to do 1
man shows in the 90s (Dog, Tell Tale Heart, Shakespeare’s Villains)
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