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Steven Berkoff

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Lindsey McAndrews

on 1 October 2015

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Transcript of Steven Berkoff

Steven Berkoff: Total Theatre
Steven Berkoff
Steven Berkoff (born 3 August 1937) is an English actor, author, playwright and theatre director.

As an actor, he is best known for his performances in villainous roles.

BRECHT – representing characters, non-naturalism, making the audience think

ARTAUD – breaking away from text, actors revealing inner thoughts, ritualistic theatre, huge movements to project their feelings beyond usual limits, society & evil as overall themes, based on myths, wanted to reach the audience’s subconscious

LECOQ – use of mime, mask and ensemble where the performers create the environment

Berkoff believed that "Actions speak louder than words" and that Naturalistic drama did not speak to the audience as powerfully as it could
Berkovian Elements
Rhythm & repetition
Increasing & decreasing tempo
Exaggeration & the grotesque
Marrying poetic language & profanity
Use of music to underscore meaning
Steven Berkoff was born in Stepney, London. After studying Drama and mime in London and Paris, he entered a series of repertory companies and in 1968 formed the London Theatre Group. His plays and adaptations have been performed in many countries and in many languages. among the many adaptations Berkoff has created for the stage, directed and toured, are Kafka's Metamorphosis and the Trial, agamemnon after aeschylus, and Poe's the Fall of the House of Usher. He has directed and toured productions all over the world, including several one man shows.
Personification (the actor becomes the object)
-Stylised movement/speech patterns (slow motion/robotic)
-Exaggerated vocal work
-Direct address
-Uses text
-Body Props
-Minimalism – hardly any costume, props, set if any
“Theatre should say what is inexpressible and unspeakable, confess your deepest secrets, passions and abominable (repulsive, awful, horrendous) imaginations, open your skull and put on stage that writhing can of worms”
Repetitive Motif

In groups of 3 or 4 create four gestures for one of the following characters:

A bouncer in a bar/club
A drunk woman on a night out
A boisterous young bloke

Move from this gesture into neutral
Experiment with different tempos
What is the effect of this?
What is the audience response?
Watch this scene.

What do you notice about the actors’ movements?
What sounds do they use?
How would you describe the overall style?

In a group of 3, use physical theatre to show a character riding a motorbike.

In 4s, create a
slow motion
bar fight.
Consider your physicality as well as SOUND & Dialogue.

As a class try to (safely) recreate the dodgems (bumper cars) at a fair ground.
Physical exaggeration. Body as Prop.

In your groups you will be given a scene from
Steven Berkoff's "The Trial".
You are going to stage this extract, using some of the Berkovian / Total Theatre style that we have discussed today.
You can use Ipads to view clips of it on YouTube to asssit you.
Next week, you will perform these.
"Total Theatre maintains that every aspect of theatre must have purpose: every movement, that is choreographed; to each line, that is learned perfectly; to each lighting effect, that is used to convey a mood or message; to each sound effect, that enhances the audience’s experience; to each prop that has a use. The aim of Total Theatre is to create extreme moods to give the audience an overwhelming experience and to shock, amuse, scare, or amaze them."
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