THEATRE / Between the Lines: The persuasive caress: Linda Marlowe on acting in Steven Berkoff's Greek

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The Independent Culture
'And then the moon turned as red as blood, the clouds raced across her face and became her hair and then her eyes and the wind pulled her hair over her face / Like it did when we walked together through the fields and the forest, when the trees shivered and the sun kissed us and the universe wrapped us around in a cloak of stars and rain and crushed grass and ice-creams and teas and clenched fingers / Hold on to me / Hold on to me and I will hold on to you . . .'

Greek by Steven Berkoff

I WASN'T having a good time. I felt that the work I was being asked to do was uninspiring, tame. For years I had looked for a radical, inventive, perhaps brutal form of theatre - something to assault the senses of both audiences and myself. I found this challenge in Steven Berkoff's plays. His work was a revelation. What I'd always thought theatre was about; intensity, physical expression, something you couldn't take your eyes off, even though you half wanted to. I was able to go out as a performer and add my danger, my outrage, my style, happier to confront audiences with energy and vitality than to hear them politely clapping. I thought I'd found all the answers, working in this way. But then along came Greek, and the beauty of the poetry came as a revelation to me. The tenderness in the writing, totally unexpected from Berkoff, enabled me to find the poetry that I had denied in myself. It's a joy as a performer to be able in a few lines to reach an audience in so many conflicting emotions, from passion in images such as the moon becoming as 'red as blood' and clouds racing across her face, to the joy and romance of being wrapped in 'a cloak of stars', to the everyday occurrences of shared 'ice- creams and teas and clenched fingers'. This piece awoke in me the realisation that sometimes a caress may be more persuasive than a slap.

'Invade My Privacy', directed by Linda Marlowe, opens tonight at the Riverside, W6 (081-748 3354)

(Photograph omitted)