Steven Berkoff was asked to direct Shakespeare’s Richard II in New York early
1994. It was a project he found fascinating: performing an Elizabethan play
within the scrapers of Manhattan and the still rotting slums of the Lower East
Side, between the steaming breath oozing out from the cracked pipes and the
brutality of modern New York speak. New York became the backdrop and the
energy centre which charged him each day and fed his inspiration.
This book offers a wonderful insight into the many characters, challenges and
places that were integral to the project and details how gradually the production
took form. Served by a first-rate company that worked incredibly hard, the
achievement was a critically acclaimed production and the fulfilment of a
personal goal to direct the Bard.
Reviews of Richard II:
NEW YORK SUNDAY TIMES
BERKOFF DIRECTS A QUIRKY, STYLISH RICHARD II
The Tragedy of Richard II now being given an exceptionally stylish production
by Steven Berkoff in the Anspacher Theater at the Joseph Papp Public Theater.
Mr Berkoff’s production, which, among many virtues, is so well and clearly
spoken and so clean of dramatic line that it’s accessible from start to finish...
NEW YORK POST - FRIDAY APRIL 1,1994
BERKOFF DOES RIGHT BY THE BARD
by Clive Barnes
It is rare to find much that is festive about Shakespeare as performed by the
New York Shakespeare Festival. But this morning I have joy to report - so let
the trumpets sound and the canons roar! Last night at the Anspacher
Auditorium of the Joseph Papp Public Theater, there opened a production of
The Tragedy of Richard II which can hold its own with the world’s best in
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER MONDAY APRIL 4 1994
IT’S A VERY LONG ‘RICHARD II’ AND CERTAIN TO BE
By Clifford A. Ridley
NEW YORK - They’ll be talking about this Richard II for years. They’re still
talking, after all, about the jackbooted Coriolanus that Steven Berkoff staged
for the Public Theater back in 1988 - a memorable production that pales in
audacity beside Berkoff’s Edwardian Richard in the same building.