AN ACTOR’S LAMENT

 

An Actor’s Lament

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Right from the off Steven Berkoff makes clear that opinions of critics are worthless. Actually he doesn’t put it quite so politely but in far more typical Berkoff fashion with a few necessary expletives just so we are aware of whom we are dealing with. Instead this play concentrates on the plight and hardship of life as an actor, John (Berkoff), versus that of a writer.

A three hander with support from Andree Bernard as Sarah a fellow thespian who as time takes its toll finds work becomes more elusive and Jay Benedict as David a writer who believes the scripts he creates far outweigh any performance given to them by actors and thus he will remain immortal whilst performances will eventually be forgotten as new generations of actors give his words a new lease of life.

 It is not only critics and writers that are in receipt of  John’s ire –it is hard to distinguish between John and Berkoff as the two as the latter puts so much of himself into the role- as television and film actors are treated with equal disdain. The stage and the theatre are the only medium which actually matters as there are no second takes, no technical assistance, no carefully nuanced soundtrack but only the actor, his performance and a script which he brings to life .

It becomes clear through all the verbal jousting that the writer and the performer need each other in order to realise both their ambitions and afford them gravitas. Which one has the most longevity is less clear and with Berkoff in the functioning role of both perhaps he didn’t feel the need to. A great performance can carry its own strengths through the generations and a great script will be around long after the author and performer have expired. What is clear is that it is the theatre which holds the true power as far as great drama goes.

 This is an extremely theatrical production which moves along with a balletic fluidity-both verbally and physically- and each of the trio command the stage in different ways though it is Berkoff who demands the most attention. An extremely worthwhile piece of drama to add to a Fringe which has seen great forms of theatre arrive from so many different sources

****

 An Actor’s Lament is on at 2.30 at Assembly Hall until August 20th

https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/theatre/actor-s-lament

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