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Steven Berkoff

Steven Berkoff's remarkable memoir of misspent youth is evocative and compelling from the very first page. Born in London's Jewish East End two years before the outbreak of WWII, life for the Berkoff family was very much hand to mouth. They dodged the bombs when the Blitz started, moved home when theirs was destroyed, and joined the street celebrations when VE Day finally came. For the young Steven life was tough and always changing; his mother caring but his father was "a strange beast" - a frightening presence who often disappeared for days. Relief came when his mother took him to New York to live for a while in the Bronx, but upon returning to London he misbehaved at school, and as he got older entered into the street life of the times - playing the pinball machines and jukeboxes, casing the dance halls, stealing kisses (and more), joining the gangs that entered into vicious daily fights, and eventually ending up in a remand home for stealing a bike. Leaving school at 16, he drifted from job to job, mostly in men's shops, one of which led him to him to fall in with some out of work actors who introduced him to theatre. With no qualifications he applied to drama school, auditioned, and was granted a scholarship. As he movingly ends this powerfully honest book, "I had arrived. I was there. [...] This is what I should do. This is what I should be. An Actor. The door closed and the lesson began."

Hardback

232 Pages

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  • Store location: Nelson, Nelson Bays, NZ

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