Sarah Kane

Sarah Kane - Blasted

"No God. No Father Christmas. No Fairies. No Narnia. No fucking nothing." And yet in a twisted way, what remains is hope.

This play is brilliant. Beginning with a "normal" setting of two real people, in a real place, it quickly departs normalcy and drives ever toward the absurd. Yet strangely the events and relationships get starkly more real, despite the world almost literally falling apart around the characters. The use of our most base human desires and needs as tools to demonstrate our animalism is not shocking, but truthful; in fact the ability of the characters to abuse one another as they do shows us just how civilized we really are (not).

Kane's language appears sparse on the page but is fiery beyond the imagination, with remarkably few words to incite such images of violence. Not simply violence of action, but violence of spirit.

The surreal nature of the play causes the actions of these characters to become more than they are on the surface; somehow we aren't shocked by the sex because it takes on not the act of sex itself, but the impregnation of the disease of thought in us all in today's media-saturated society. Layers upon layers of shit sliding down hill.

Sarah Kane - Psychosis 4.48

This play really grabbed my attention. I happened upon it after several tutors talking about Sarah Kane's work, and me realizing that I hadn't even heard of this woman. So I popped into the library, and this title stood out at me.

The language is beautiful; savagely beautiful and abrasive. Structurally I liked that it isn't completely clear who is speaking immediately, but that a clear character emerges quite quickly. Similarly the movement from individual, poetic language into 2-handed scenes really appealed to me. I couldn't help but consider options for how to bring this to the stage, how one might deal with the pages of heightened inner-monologue without being pitched too high for the full show. Or should it be?

One of the structural ideas of feminist theatre is that there can be multiple climaxes in a piece, rather than following the Aristotelian ideal. This play nearly felt like several continual climaxes, without anything more than a few lines comedown before the next fever pitch.

I don't know yet what I will do with this. But I suspect I will be drawn back to it.