Is tomorrow another day, or a petty pace that creeps from day to day?
Chapter VI Conclusion Since the late s, Steven Berkoff made it a mission to spread his dramatic vision, and, in the process gained a devoted audience. Berkoff aimed to convert what he saw as the bourgeois theatre of realism into a dynamic, presentational "total-theatre.
Typically, these directors use stylized movement and choreography, manipulate speech patterns, and incorporate other art-forms into their theatre. Moreover, Berkoff, Wilson, and Foreman share a penchant for artificially manipulating time and space in their productions.
In the latter two plays, Berkoff uses the legato rhythm to specifically emphasize language. In this manner, Berkoff uses aural effects to enhance the overall environment. More literal parallels exist between Berkoff and fringe mainstay Lindsay Kemp, who share a heritage in mime, masks, and movement.
One prevalent theme of Berkoff's personal and professional life is his status as an "outsider" -- a persona he usually embraces, yet, at times, regrets.
Late in his career his work has become critically and commercially accepted, even if it was not always embraced; yet, he remains committed to pushing the limits of the conservative theatre establishment.
Many consider his rants against naturalism and all theatre critics to be fanatical. Although he despises professional critics, he uses their comments as fuel for his own creative and professional fire.
Just as Berkoff is torn between his need for critical acceptance from and disdain for those critics, he sees his polarized position in the British theatre circles as "natural. He talks about relationships between opposites. The more you hate something, the more you find yourself attracted to it, in a curious way" Features n.
This paradox personifies Berkoff. Berkoff's plays often touch upon class-politics and personal issues of estrangement, isolation, and loneliness, but, his primary focus is on form as much -- if not more -- than content. His form can be termed "experimental.
This experimental label is sometimes used synonymously with Berkoff's status as a "fringe" performer. Though the two adjectives overlap, Berkoff continued his "experiments" upon the boards of the world's most prestigious, and well-established, theatres as well as those on the "fringe.
In his review for The Independent, Thomas Sutcliffe observed that Messiah will stand for the tendency of the plusher ends of the Fringe to offer its audience an entirely reliable product -- one polished over succeeding years but rarely re-invented.
Features 8 Berkoff's experiments with form and content often merge with his relationship to language. Berkoff juxtaposes the elevated form of language, verse, for example, into plays with contemporary settings.
As a director, Berkoff reconstructs language into a stylized vocal delivery, attempting to jar the audience from their typical theatre-going experience -- this technique is especially true in his Shakespearean productions and adaptations.
Though it appears that Berkoff is battling the playwright, he sees it in other terms. Rather than battling, he believes that he is enhancing the playwright's work by making it fresh and relevant.
Much of his theatre -- and attitude in general -- is combative:Reviews, essays, books and the arts: the leading international weekly for literary culture.
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