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Sarah Kane Sarah Kan
more: links to blasted


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click to go to link Christopher Wixson, Comparative Drama, 22 Mar 2005

Near the play's conclusion, alienated space and alienated identity become one as Ian, like Cate at the beginning of the play, merges with his environment, helpless and victimized. Like the sufferers in the soldier's stories, Ian and the dead child become part of the fragmented stage space, their bodies telling the tale of their suffering. The baby Cate buries under the stage floorboards becomes spatial, part of the contemporary landscape that destroys innocence and vitality. (42) After the baby's death, Cate prays that it will not "go bad places" (58), wishing the baby to a better place. Jealous of the child's fatal escape from the world or perhaps its lack of ongoing suffering, Ian attempts to take the deceased baby's place in the space by eating the child, an ironic act of bodily preservation as he climbs in the grave and Kane's sly and decidedly immodest allusion to Jonathan Swift's modest proposal. Ripping the burial cross from the ground, Ian climbs into the child's grave in the floorboards, and the stage directions say he "dies with relief" (60). However, after it begins to rain, he says "Shit," echoing his opening line about the hotel room. Death and its promise of a better place becomes another space that eludes and betrays him, and Ian must accept himself as part of the landscape, as space to be conquered, as entirely and miserably vulnerable.


Blasted- click for link Peter Buse, Nach Dem Film, 12/00

All three characters in Blasted seem to have undergone some form or other of traumatic experience. The soldier has both incurred and inflicted horrific violence during the course of whatever war is taking place and he continues to re-enact in their full brutality these crimes. Ian, the journalist, has also been involved in some sort of atrocities, but he revisits his possible war crimes as phantasms, or rather, they revisit him. Finally, Cate, as a victim, is at once thrust into a compulsive repetition of her previous scenes of abuse, and yet, at the same time, resists the pattern of repetition and attempts to halt it.



click to go to link Penny Cotton, Guardian 2 March 1999

Yet, for me, Blasted and Phaedre were simply boring. The audience was bludgeoned with a tedious catalogue of rape, masturbation, sodomy, incest, violence etc which seemed to orbit randomly around the stage.


BBC Newsnight Review 6 Apr 2001 (link has gone)

Miranda Sawyer:
...Sarah Kane writes by pairing her language down to the bone and it's very quick. When you first go in, things moved a little slowly…but I did enjoy it.

Ian Hislop:
It's sad what happened to her, but the play is really pretty feeble. I found it not shocking but quite boring at times. I think it's very badly written…I couldn't understand why this was on. It seemed like the worst student drama…I felt rather sorry for [the actors].

Mark Lawson:
I thought she had a powerful visual imagination. The way you start off with the hotel and it's gradually demolished over the four scenes. Almost like scenes from modern art.

click to go to link Helena Thompson and Joe Hill-Gibbins

they did this exercise and came up with as many as seven different meanings for a line, which Sarah said was fine - then she told them she expected them to express all seven.

(scroll down to the bottom of the link)


click to go to link Peter Wynne-Willson

I knew Sarah Kane only briefly, and in a very particular context. I was brought in to direct the 'workshop' of her play 'Blasted', which was at the time only part-written, as the final element in her MA in Playwriting at Birmingham University in 1993. I knew all about how extreme she was seen as being before I even met her, having been taken on one side and warned that she was 'difficult', and that the piece was 'problematic'. I think this made me feel a little warm to her - anyone that the authorities felt that about must be fighting the fight of the righteous, somehow. I wasn't sure what I thought about the play. Sarah was serious about it, without being solemn, and the contact with her in rehearsals was certainly enjoyable - as well as challenging. I took the line that my task was to use any skills I had as a director to make the piece she had written work, in the way that was intended. We took it slow, worked with unusual focus with the student actors, and played it head on, relentlessly, with the same kind of slow, seething intensity and bleakness that was there in the text. The effect on the performance day was quite remarkable. It served to make every other piece of drama presented there on the day - there were several - invisible. The scouts from the front line of the new writing world sharpened pens and sought Sarah out for conversation. It was no surprise to anyone that she was snapped up, and that success was beckoning. No surprise, but something of a shock…….


--- Cath Hart (link has gone- www.media-culture.org.au)

The show is touted as an exploration of violence in different contexts, and highlighting the similarities between them. But this explanation falls flat after viewing. There isn’t enough in the script to unpick the seams between global and local violence. Thankfully. A polemic on the state of the world would have dumbed down the personal dynamic between the characters. Rather, Blasted explores the point where public and private chaos eclipse each other.


--- oceanfree.net (link has gone- home.oceanfree.net/culture-fiona)

"I have to admit when I first read it I felt angry and disgusted," begins Fiona [O’ Shaughnessy] "I felt like flinging the play across the room. I found it terribly upsetting. It made me sick. I wasn’t sure that it was the kind of play that was going to be good for me at all. I felt it would have an adverse affect on me and that it would invade my life. Of course, once the technique kicks in that isn’t the case at all but I was still very worried about it. After that first read I went off and took a bath. I read it about 15 times more. This might seem strange but by the end I could see the humour, and, of course, the humanity".


--- Whatsonstage 18 Apr 2001 (link has gone)

Sarah Kane Blasted

...Blasted re-emerges as both bleakly brilliant and powerfully prescient, and one of the defining plays of its age. In its chillingly naturalistic account of a dismal sexual relationship, being played out in a Leeds hotel room, between a paunchily wary journalist and his timidly damaged girlfriend, Cate, the first hour is merely ominous, rather than horrible. But as a war erupts on the streets outside, and a soldier invades the now bombed-out room and proceeds to urinate on the bed, the horrors begin to pile on with nihilistic inevitability. The grim reality is that horrible things do happen in war; but it's even more unsettlingly close to home that Kane has set her play so close to home.


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