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Steven Berkoff absolute beginners






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Interested in getting into Berkoff? What about trying:


reading plays

East and Metamorphosis are good places to start.

East uses verse and mine, see Chris Deacon´s review below.

Metamorphosis adapts the Kafka story for the stage, and shows Berkoff´s mastery of mime.  Decadence, Greek, The Trial, The Messiah.  More details are in the plays section of the site.  Also see the shop for plays and videos.

study guide

There is a study guide to East and a glossary of vocabulary.  Go to the plays section of the site.


Any. They are regularly performed especially by fringe groups.  Recommended first plays to see are East, Metamorphosis and Shakespeare's Villains.

Also two actors have worked a lot with Berkoff, and tour regularly:

Graft by Berkoff with George Dillon   Berkoffs Women with Linda Marlowe

Graft performed by George Dillon and Berkoff´s Women by Linda Marlow.

The latest news on performances is on the Hot News section of the site.

videos and DVDs

East is easily available. Berkoff directs but does not appear. It is a very good filming of a live stage performance.  See the shop for this and other DVDs, videos and books.

further reading

Meditations on Metamorphosis. How do you do a play about a man who turns into a giant insect, without using costumes? Berkoff´s diary about staging Metamorphosis in Japan, with lots of good insights.  Also try the links page and skim till you find something that interests you.



Berkoff in Octopussy
If you want to see Berkoff as a film actor, the three films that made him internationally famous were Rambo, Beverley Hills Cop and Octopussy.

Berkoff in Fair Game
Best role in an action film: Fair Game or Beverly Hills Cop.
Best acting role: Revolution, as the recruiting sergeant (a small role).

Berkoff in  A Clockwork Orange
Early (small) roles: the policeman in A Clockwork Orange, Lord Ludd in Barry Lyndon.

Prince Under the Cherry Moon
Worst role: in Prince's Under the Cherry Moon.
More details are in the films section of the site.  You can buy videos and DVDs on the shop page.


East is a good place to start. This is site visitor Chris Deacon´s view (thanks Chris):

EAST by Steven Berkoff, Vaudeville Theatre London

Various year ten and eleven drama students, including myself, were "bussed" up to London for the super performance of EAST on the 21 September 1999. However, to me, the play proved to be more than super; it was THE best piece of theatre I have ever seen. It was funny, I barely stopped laughing, it was completely unreal, a highlight of Bekoff's style and it was a fruitless journey through Eastend life.

Berkoff East

The play had no real story line, it was more a series of sketches involving five memorable characters; Mum, played by a man- Edward Bryant, being my personal favourite. However, the others stood out in their own right; Les and Mike's (Matthew Callum and Christopher Middleton's) typically 'laddish' behaviour and walk; Sylv's (Tanya Frank's) seductive and frank manner and Dad's (Jonathan Linsley's) patriotic persona- constantly reminding those old enough to remember of 'days gone by'. There was no need for a big, fancy set as the actors dominated the stage.

Not only did Berkoff write EAST but he also directed this version. This was very clear, as some of the scenes portrayed his vivid style; Les and Mike's motorbike being one of many. There are many aspects which are too rude to mention but when looked for a deeper meaning the play has a lot more to offer. The play exposes the view of Eastend life, in Berkoff's opinion; many aspects being very true, and others being exaggerated 'Berkoff style'.

Overall the play EAST was an excellent piece of entertainment with a deeper meaning for those who wanted one. It was much more than I anticipated and I will now be looking out for Steven Berkoff and his play's in our local theatres. I recommend this style of theatre, a combination of physical, unnaturalistic and 'Berkoff' to anyone who can handle his ideas being thrown at them at light speed. Or anyone who wants to see a memorable play with a basic plot which will keep you laughing- no end!

Click here for advanced Berkoff, including dissertations and an interview


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