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Steven Berkoff villains

Just as Berkoff has adapted Kafka and Poe for the stage, so some people have adapted Berkoff short stories and other works for the stage..

Linda Marlowe, Berkoff's Women Berkoff´s Women

A bit like Shakespeare's villains turned round, a compilation of the women's roles from Berkoff including Decadence, Agamemnon, East, Greek and Sturm und Drang plus the short story From My Point of View.  It starred Linda Marlowe, who has worked with Berkoff for many years, and was directed by Josie Lawrence.

Berkoff writes about his youth "Lunchtimes, I would go to a coffee bar across the road called SA Tortuga- unbelievably owned by the father of an actress Linda Marlowe, with whom I was to work with in future years" (Steven Berkoff, Diary of a Juvenile Delinquent,  page 218, 2010).

Linda Marlowe says "In Berkoff's Women, it's such a mixture of different types of women; some of them are absolute horrors and some of them are really vulnerable. The last piece that I do, a short story that he wrote, is one of the most beautiful pieces of writing from a man which is so much in tune with a woman that people can't believe that a man wrote it" (E Borley, Linda Marlowe and Berkoff's Women, BBC Website, 28 Oct 2014, click here).

Berkoff says "I wouldn't describe Linda as my muse - but she aids and facilitates. When we were doing Decadence together on stage, sometimes it became too daunting even for me - I went through agonies of nerves. She consistently gave me the praise and energy to fight on. She's my Lady Macbeth - and I mean that as a compliment" (10 Apr 2012, Evening Standard, click here).

For the Linda Marlowe website click here.


Berkoff Hell - George Dillon Hell

Three short stories from Gross Intrusion- The Secret of Capitalism, Say a Prayer for me and the then unpublished Hell (it was later included in the paperback version of Gross Intrusion).  These were adapted and performed by George Dillon in 1992 including at the Edinburgh Festival.

In Free Association Berkoff says "when I recently saw the young and talented George Dillon adapt this for a one-man show I felt the awfulness and pain of it all over again. His performance was a masterpiece of timing and observation, but most of all he let himself go. I was most proud of my written work when I saw him".

For the George Dillon website click here.

George Dillon, Graft Tales of an Actor Graft Tales of an Actor

George Dillon with more Berkoff stories, this time the Tales of an Actor.   Dillon performed Graft on a bare stage in black and barefoot. He used subdued music and lighting. Whereas the stories may tip towards sentimentality, Dillon doesn't allow this and his fast pace means the character's success in early youth is contrasted with the frustrations of his later career.  The performance was one of the those nominated by the Edinburgh Festival.

Graft is made up of:

  • Audition- In which Harry, enamoured of Rosemary, makes a beginning

  • Free Associate- Harry turns up for impro class. Can he compete with Neil? And what does he do for 'Preparation'?

  • Rep- Our hero plunges the depths of his profession...

  • Big Fish- ...and scales the heights of his art

  • Filthy Bastard Directors- What goes through an actor's mind after an audition?

  • Resting- Harry chases the fulfillment of his genetic destiny in the Astoria dance hall

  • Graft- Not fantastic, but it's something. It's a fill-in. It's graft, and you need...

  • Journey- When did it all go awry? Our hero seeks the clues to his crime down Memory Lane, Soho

  • Summer Season- Those were the days! As he faces his final curtain, Harry feeds off the memory of the most blessed of days

  • Agent- Out in the cold, an actor makes a touching, theatrical exit.

Dillon played in Berkoff´s Greek and Decadence, then was asked by Berkoff to appear under his direction in Salome.  Dillon also directed the world premiere of Berkoff's Sink the Belgrano!.

From my Point of View

Emma Nicholson adapted Berkoff's short story From My Point Of View for the Kwasuka Cutting Edge Theatre in South Africa in Sept 2007.  The actors were Clare Mortimer and Darren King.  A review says  "The stark stage is shared by Clare Mortimer and Darren King, who both put in strong performances in this brief and blunt 50- minute piece.  Mortimer is fantastic as a woman searching for someone to come home to. This promiscuous character trawls the left-overs at dance halls and dark hallways and yet still remains loveable through her honest narration.  Throughout the show we watch as she is man-handled and treated as an object; even when she first appears on stage she is carried on as a doll-like figure and dressed in the appropriate female paraphernalia. Yet there is something poignant about her openness and optimism in a world that is so deceptively desolate...

From My Point of View is a well- constructed show that is effective in its uncluttered appeal... There are only a few props which transform between the different scenes, and the uncomplicated appeal of it all allows for the eloquence of the writing to be showcased....  After all, it is Berkoff's writing that deserves centre stage, being both beautiful and explosive and worth the weight of each word" (from www.tonight.co.za).


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