Author Topic: Context  (Read 10004 times)

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Offline fingerBalloon

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Re: Context
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2009, 03:45:55 AM »
thanks so much! very much appreciated

Offline Iain Fisher

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    • Iain Fisher
Re: Context
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2009, 12:22:29 AM »
There is stuff in The Notion of Cruelty in the Work of Sarah Kane by Gaëlle Ranc, on the site here:

"Then Kane wrote Phaedra's Love, an adaptation of Seneca's classical tragedy, commissioned by the Gate Theatre in Notting Hill, which spe*** THIS IS SPAM MARKED FOR DELETION ***es in producing European works in translation. 'The Gate asked me to write a play based on a European classic', Kane explains. Her first choice was Georg BĂĽchner's Woyzeck because she 'wanted to direct it since [she] was 17'. But the theatre was already planning a season of BĂĽchner's plays 'so Woyzeck was out'. Her second choice was Bertolt Brecht's Baal but she had to make another choice once again because the theatre anticipated problems with his estate. Finally, the Gate suggested a classical play. At first Kane was not keen, she had always hated those plays in which 'everything happens offstage '. But she eventually chose Seneca 'because Caryl Churchill had done a version of one of his plays, Thyestes, [produced by James McDonald in 1994] which [she] liked very much'. Phaedra's Love was premiered at the Gate Theatre, London, on 15 May 1996 and directed by Kane herself. Like Blasted, it was harshly criticised." [from the Introduction]

Interestingly Kane barely looked at the Seneca play and created her own work.  This was directly after the press tried to make Blasted into a scandal, so the press were after shock headlines.

"Sarah associates violence on TV to the consumption society. In Phaedra's Love, while he is watching TV, Hippolytus is eating hamburgers and sweets endlessly, and the floor of his bedroom is covered with 'expensive electronic toys' and 'empty crisp and sweet packets'. Having such an attitude, Hippolytus personifies the society of consumption. He is a consumer who uses and throws away; for example, he uses his socks like tissues: he blows his nose and masturbate into them. This attitude even goes further since it is also applied to people: he lets them down after having had sexual intercourse with them. Therefore, even the individual is alienated by the consumption system since he is considered as a mere object. This idea is also evoked in Cleansed, in which Tinker treats the dancer like a prostitute. By associating the media to the consumption society, Kane implies that the media system treats violence as an object of consumption.

Her vision can be compared to Andy Warhol's. By multiplying his subject endlessly in his paintings, Warhol symbolises the society of consumption which makes everything become commonplace with mass-production. And like Kane, he draws a parallel between the consumption system and the media mechanism. By multiplying violent images, the photo of a car accident for example, or images evoking violence and death, such as an electric chair, Warhol tries to dismantle the media mechanism, to show how the media make violence ordinary. By bombarding us with violent images, TV makes violence commonplace." [from Chpter One].

From Chapter Two:

"Kane says that Phaedra interested her because it was 'completely contemporary' as it depicts a Royal family which is sexually corrupt. She says, 'This was long before Diana died. But there is all that stuff in the last scene of Phaedra's Love about the most popular person in the Royal family dying and so on. Now it would be a really good time for a production here '. She implicitly criticises the infatuation of the people for princes and princesses when Hippolytus says that nothing matters 'cause it's a royal birthday'".

Ken Urban adds to this in his essay An Ethics of Catastrophe
The Theatre of Sarah Kane which is here:

"Phaedra’s Love, Kane’s second play, is her scathing and comedic take on the Royal Family, inspired by the Seneca play as well as Brecht’s Baal. It was presented as a staged reading during the Kane season, but even in such a minimal setting, Phaedra’s Love is clearly the most wickedly funny of all of her works. It is an economical play, comprised of eight compact scenes, many of which are terse exchanges between two characters. Its precision, however, captures the grandness of an empire near its end. Hearing director James Macdonald read the play’s impossible stage directions, featuring such sights as the tossing of Hippolytus’ genitals onto a barbecue, conveyed how images are significant carriers of meaning for Kane. The brutal images belie the violence of the Royals, a family that exists as little more than a nostalgic and repressive ideal, and whose present function is one of smug self-satisfaction."

It is worth skimming through the dissertations on the site to pick up more stuff.
Does this help?  More questions are welcome.  It would be great to read your essays.

« Last Edit: March 03, 2009, 12:25:34 AM by Iain Fisher »

Offline fingerBalloon

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Re: Context
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2009, 03:21:18 AM »
I am also very interested in any information I can get about Phaedra's Love. I am considering using it for the final in my directing class.

Tori Bower

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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2009, 06:13:37 PM »
I am an Undergraduate Drama Student at the University Of Kent. I am researching Sarah Kane for a portfolio I have to create for one of my modules. For an essay we have to focus on one aspect of Phaedra's Love which we personally find interesting. I am looking at the context in which Kane wrote her plays and how this affected her work. I would be really grateful if you could maybe give me some more information about what you know? I would really like some opinions about the time she was writing and how you think this affected her work. Also any ideas for some resources I could use. I would really appreciate this.

Thankyou, Tori.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2009, 05:59:17 PM by Iain Fisher »