Steven Berkoff the solo plays
Requiem for Ground Zero
Berkoff´s long poem about the September 11 attacks. Written shortly after the event, it became a one-man performance at the Edinburgh Festival in 2002. Well intentioned and genuine, but the poem is not very good. The imagery is obvious- the planes surf the sky, moments are precious (and two verses later bonds are also precious), overweight ladies waddle and death is grim-faced. The poem is often very clumsy Hey Jules... It's Brian, I'm on a plane...' he said, / 'That's just been hijacked; it doesn't look good,' he adds.
Another view by site visitor Linda (thanks Linda) is:
I was extremely moved by Steven Berkoff's poem/performance. Hadn't read it first, so might have had a different impression. But in Edinburgh I wound up sitting right in mid front row & was completely mesmerised. Had been a bit apprehensive, ie couldn't imagine how anyone could do justice to the subject matter & feared it might be full of ego. But in the event found the simplicity of the words, images & delivery - the pictures they painted & normality they evoked - served to accentuate the absolute horror. Felt I hardly breathed for the whole hour & rooted to the seat after - just wanted to sob.
Dog or Pitbull
A day in the life of another strange beast, says Berkoff. But he is referring to the owner rather than the dog Roy. Originally called Pitbull, but published as Dog, this was part of Berkoff´s one man show. In Dog he plays owner and, on the other end of the leash, the dog.
Berkoff plays extracts from Shakespeare (Richard III etc) and tells anecdotes. Strangely the Shakespeare is less effective, with Berkoff too much in aggressive mode, but Berkoff´s stories of acting were funny and insightful, in particular the ghost of Olivier, with Berkoff´s good impersonation, and also the ad-libs. When I saw the performance someone left the auditorium and Berkoff ad-libbed on the ghost of the footfalls. In another performance (which I didn't see) someone's mobile phone went off and Berkoff ad-libbed "it'll be for me, it'll be my manager".
Richard Cooper adds: "I was at the performance of Villain when the mobile phone when off. It was in Nottingham Playhouse. He handled the situation really well and because it was so smooth we thought it may have been a plant".
"Years of struggle, unemployment, auditions, begging, letters, agents, directors who didn't re-employ, self-loathing, disappointment, lack of courage, self-worth, self-pity leading to paranoia, neurosis etc- this is the life of an actor". Another one man piece, consisting of 14 short telephone conversations.
"No play I have done received so many responses from people who found in Harry's dilemma and, may I say, agony, echoes in their own lives". Another one man piece, it could be one of Alan Bennet´s Talking Heads in both the insight into people and the over sentimentality. Berkoff filmed it as Silent Night.
Berkoff's play about film producer Harvey Weinstein after a series of allegations of sexual abuse. Berkoff played Weinstein, based on his actual words, and to avoid any sympathy for Weinstein creeping in, he has voiceovers by actresses making allegations of sexual assualt against Weinstein. Berkoff was succesful in conveying Weinstein, performing mainly from a chair, only at the end standing.
The play was presented as a work in progress in the Playground Theatre on 12 April 2019.
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