Author Topic: Don't forget about Cleansed! Jess van Onselen  (Read 9099 times)

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Re: Don't forget about Cleansed! Jess Cully- 23-2-2002
« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2007, 12:09:55 PM »
I think your interpretation is absolutely right - and we do know that Sarah got the impaling from its use as a Serb method of execution.

Thanks for coming on this board Stephanie, please post again.

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Re: Don't forget about Cleansed! Stephanie_Towery- 22-2-2002
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2007, 12:09:02 PM »
Somebody mentioned the atrocities in Cleansed, and I haven't read anything else by Kane, but I saw all the violence as being pretty specific.

I don't have my copy of Cleansed in front of me, but I think it goes like this (let me know if I mess up the order): Carl gets beaten Carl gets impaled with the rod Rod falls from a great height Carl has his tongue cut out Grace is beaten and raped Rod has his hands cut off Robin is force-fed Grace gets shocked Carl has his feet cut off Robin hangs himself Grace has her breasts cut off & Carl has his genitalia cut off; Carl's genitalia are sewn onto Grace

Now I might have missed something, but most of the violence seems to follow (as punishment, prohibition, compulsion, or as the fulfillment of a request) from something the character did just previous to the violence.

Carl gets beaten (Tinker has just seen him profess his love to Rod, admit his homosexuality) Carl gets impaled with the rod (to make him rat out/betray his lover; to make him break his promise) Rod falls from a great height (Carl has just ratted on Rod, etc.) Carl has his tongue cut out (Carl has just ratted on Rod; he is deprived of speech; he cannot make any more promises) Grace is beaten and raped (Grace has just made love with Graham; Tinker has fallen in love with Grace; Grace has tried to teach Robin to write) Carl has his hands cut off (Carl was trying to use his hands to communicate - in writing, using his hands - with Rod; deprived of writing) Robin is force-fed (Robin has fallen in love with Grace; Robin is learning to write) Grace gets shocked (for the love or the teaching or because she asked to be "treat[ed] like a patient"; to deprive her of affect, pain, desire, language) Carl has his feet cut off (because he was just trying to communicate with Rod by dancing; deprived of dance, physical expression) Robin hangs himself (Grace will not communicate with him, re*** THIS IS SPAM MARKED FOR DELETION ***cate) Grace has her breasts cut off & Carl has his genitalia cut off; Carl's genitalia are sewn onto Grace (make Grace like Graham on the outside - what she asked for; deprive Carl of his ability to communicate genetically, feel sexual pleasure, communicate with sex, gender identity).

So there is logic to the violence, the atrocity, and the idea of cause and effect is preserved. In fact, causation seems to be important. None of the violence is random, and none of it is general. It is specific to the character and the situation.

Carl receives 5 wounds, which I can't help but see as a reference to the 5 wounds of Christ, but I suspect thats probably a kind of personal joke.

Impaling, besides being a reference to the character Rod and the pen*s, is also one of those things you read about the Ottomans doing to the Serbs back in the day. I think the idea was to set the impaled person up in a public area as a sign to others as well as an individual punishment.

Please let me know your thoughts and any corrections you might have.

Thanks, Stephanie Stephanie Towery Austin, Texas


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Re: Don't forget about Cleansed! Jaidn- 14-11-2001
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2007, 12:08:04 PM »
From what I remeber of the state of the Court backstage befour the referb the rats would have been native.

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Re: Don't forget about Cleansed! Jess van Onselen- 14-11-2001
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2007, 12:07:23 PM »
Peter Zadek absolutely did try to use live brown rats in his production of Cleansed. Apparently someone told him that they could be trained, and so he thought this was the ideal way to get the hands and feet carried off, but it didn't work out. Rumour has it that he cut the rats at the final dress rehearsal, much to his actors delight. I also heard that Sarah was watching the final dress, and thought it was hilarious that "the rats wouldn't take direction" as James MacDonald said.

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Re: Don't forget about Cleansed! Jess Cully
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2007, 12:06:54 PM »
And Sarah herself observed that if you tried to stage Cleansed realistically, you'd bust a gut.

Did Peter Zadek say he intended to use live rats in his original production? I remember he said something like this, which amused Sarah somewhat.

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Re: Don't forget about Cleansed! Jaidn
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2007, 12:06:13 PM »
There is a comment from James McDonald who directed both 'Blasted' and 'Cleansed' on the media page of this site. Where makes the point that becouse of the press backlash from 'Blasted' which was played for real, with 'Cleansed' there was shift to makeing it less real. Though keeping the shock value.

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Re: Don't forget about Cleansed! Jess van Onselen
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2007, 12:05:32 PM »
I've no doubt the atrocities in Cleansed were quite clearly taken from the media, but I always found it interesting how Sarah seemed to keep the atrocities firmly located within realism for Blasted, and even to a certain extent in Phaedra's Love, but in Cleansed its almost like she let rip completely. The audience is punished almost as severely as the inmates. Did Sarah ever speak much about Cleansed as a play during her life?

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Re: Don't forget about Cleansed! Jaidn
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2007, 12:05:07 PM »
One influence on teh violence in 'Clensed' would be the TV news and newspapers in the UK at the time she was writing it. You had the horrors of the ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, and the massicaers in Rowanda. On more than one occasion the BBC and ITN were fined due to the graphic nature of the covaridge of the Hutu and Tootsi conflict.

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Re: Don't forget about Cleansed! Chloe
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2007, 12:04:19 PM »
Wow! Excellent question and again, I don't know! *smiles* I mean this is the one thing I don't always "get" about her works, tho "Cleansed" is definitely the most violent, I think...its almost as if the characters are being "punished" in some way for daring to love, as if their beliefs are being not only called into question regarding this but ridiculed as well; yet they willingly accept the punishments metered out by Tinker...why? Are they masochistic? It would seem to be so, then again, maybe this is just my interpretation of it all.

But...love as punishment, punishment as love, does seem to be a recurring element in her works.

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Re: Don't forget about Cleansed! Jess van Onselen
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2007, 12:03:35 PM »
I agree. I think Sarah wrote about love in the same way she wrote about pain and despair - with an all-consuming passion, and I think part of Grace's fierce love for her brother is to *become* him, to literally crawl into his skin.

Another question: why is Cleansed, of all her plays, so jam-packed full of atrocities?

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Re: Don't forget about Cleansed! Chloe
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2007, 12:02:58 PM »
"Hmmm"...well, thats a very good question...and I don't really know. I mean, maybe Grace thought the only way she could BE close to Graham was to BECOME Graham, in a sense, which, when you think about it, has to be the ultimate in sublimation...its just sort of occuring to me as I'm writing this that maybe the play could be seen as a questioning of identity...WHO are you as a person? A name? A gender? None of the characters seems to be very happy or at peace with who they are really.

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Re: Don't forget about Cleansed! Jess Cully
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2007, 12:02:22 PM »
One point to remember about the Tinker/Woman relationship is that prior to scene 19, Tinker fantasises that Woman is Grace. Meanwhile, Woman falls in love with Tinker, but it is only in scene 19, when she reveals this to him, that she re*** THIS IS SPAM MARKED FOR DELETION ***cates.

We should always bear in mind that Tinker is in love with Grace, as this explains the horror he inflicts on Robin in scene 15 - he believes Grace to be in love with Robin (he wasn't there when she explained her love for him was platonic) so he sets about eliminating the boy he sees as a rival.

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Re: Don't forget about Cleansed! Jess van Onselen
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2007, 12:01:43 PM »
But then, on the question of gender, doesn't it make you wonder why exactly Grace so desperately wanted to be Graham? Why did she want to be "Graham outside, like Graham inside"?

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Re: Don't forget about Cleansed! Chloe
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2007, 12:01:13 PM »
Well, yes...I mean, "gender" roles are reversed in alot of ways, but by doing this it also brings up a very interesting point too: What are gender "roles" anyway? Are they prescribed by society? Jacques Lacan talks about the "mirror" stage when an infant first sees himself, or rather, his "reflection" of himself, its not a TRUE representation...this play raises alot of questions, a woman CAN be aggressive, a man CAN be passive, and when two souls are emeshed as one, isn't that the ultimate blending of both then? Into one being? I think this work is about crossing the boundaries yet at the same time it makes us question what our perhaps pre-conceived ideas of what "men" and "women" can be, to themselves, and to each other too.

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Re: Don't forget about Cleansed! Jaidn
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2007, 12:00:36 PM »
I would think the gender thing is the most obvious as well. Thoug there are other levels to that, in that the it's almost as if they becouse other people, not just another gender. Robin loves grace, and tinker turnes him into Grace. Grace is looking for Graham and becoumes him.

Archive 8-11-2001
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