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Steven Berkoff plays for couples


 

 

 
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Massage

Lips

So many years have passed since first I found a way to honest toil ready and alert de-fleaing the cat pour out the nectar sweet balm and elixir the assembly line of dirty dogs keep the equipment free from rust no talk of sin/ free enterprise

A play for three actors tackling the sex industry.  Mum works secretly as a prostitute while dad secretly visits another prostitute nearby.  The comedy works well, but the social comment works less well.  The comparison between prostitution and marriage is OK though it verges on preaching, while the political element, anti-Thatcherism, fails.

Berkoff says that "No holds are barred in this sexual comedy since I wished to write something deeply erotic, pornographic and obscene...I felt that the play ceased to be a dirty play since it is open and reveals itself without deviousness or guide...I have yet to perform this piece but hope to some day".  Later in 2006 Berkoff played the role of mum in drag and brought out the humour of the play through the use of mime.

Steven Berkoff in Massage

I first saw the play in The Hague, one of the first ever productions, decades after it was written. Enjoyable, still shocking after all this time (I was reminded of Sarah Kane) but not his best play.  In the Edinburgh Festival production a large group of the audience left in protest, went the wrong way, and had to come back to the auditorium to the cheers of the audience who remained.  And in Tunbridge Wells in 2006, with Berkoff starring, it was a major success.

 

Lunch

It moves- a wave moves like a mole under the water- Or a rat under the carpet I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound bored/ she said sounding bored Your scent hung in the air like a pollen count

Heart Heart

That's me, yes, oblique, the darting rat in the corner of your eye The sea's stopped moving, the earth pauses... for a moment...the tide has gone far out...

Berkoff says "so naturally I used this experience to describe my growing awareness of the space in my own life".

Berkoff Lunch

In Rotterdam the two actors with backs to the audience faced a projection of a beach, the waves gently lapping the shore. A quiet, thoughtful, piece. My first encounter with Berkoff.  In 2001 Berkoff wrote a sequel to the play, The Bow of Ulysses, with the same characters.

Lunch

 

 

The Bow of Ulysses

Heart Heart Heart Heart

just threads holding my face on my skull like an ostrich you buried your dick and thought you were safe I put colour in the rest of your body and mind I'm getting used to the four walls you became the thing you accused me of then

Written by Berkoff in 2000 and premiered in 2001, this is a sequel to Lunch.

Site visitor Gareth says (thanks Gareth)
"it contains some of the best female dialogue since
From My Point of View, a short story from Berkoff's 1979 book Gross Intrusions. I have found the key to the play lies at the very end. Like James Joyce's Finnegans Wake the play is cyclical as it states at the end of the text: fading out as the story continues forever. However if you take the mans last sentence of dialogue it works perfectly at the beginning. A neat trick don't you think".

 

 

The Secret Love Life of Ophelia

Sun and cloud

a crimson tide invaded these pale shores for some time thy burning words thy blood-red lips are as a hungry chick within its nest thy verbs have found a secret stream I blushed to death half of my heart one incapable of her own distress

The Secret Love Life of Ophelia

Premiered in London in June 2001. Just as Stoppard took two characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and examined them further, so Berkoff takes Hamlet and Ophelia, through their letters to each other as their passion grows, until political expediency takes over.

The Secret Love Life of Ophelia

The Secret Love Life of Ophelia

 

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