Actor Steven Berkoff has had an insight into the darker side of the human mind through his numerous roles as villains. But he says truly evil people usually lack intelligence and imagination. 'Without imagination you cannot identify with the distress and suffering of others,' he says. His recent three-day performance of Shakespeare's Villains - A Masterclass in Evil as part of the Arts Festival further explored the evil mind. 'A villain is someone who has to satisfy his own needs irrespective of the pain he causes to others,' he says. 'He revenges himself because he is denied something and it is often attention and love. A compassionate person, on the other hand, cannot hurt others because hurting others hurts them.' But what about the difference between the sexes when it comes to evil? 'The common feeling is that women are more manipulative than men. Since they are denied the possibility of achieving their own goals, they seek it through men,' Berkoff says. He refers to Lady Macbeth: 'It's dangerous to say that women are more evil but because of their predicament, women sometimes have to resort to evil ways to get what they want.' Berkoff, who also writes, directs and produces, is planning a film version of his new play, a social comedy called Kvetch. He has also just finished writing a book about the trials and tribulations of an actor - Graft: Tales of an Actor. 'It's about the humiliation and denigration of what a struggling actor has to go through,' her says. 'I suffered a lot in my early years, facing rejection and being unemployed. But all that suffering has stretched me as an actor.'