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Sarah Kane Sarah Kan
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click to go to link Fiachra Gibbons, Guardian, 20 September 1999

4.48 Psychosis: The play, drawn from Goethe's novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, about a young man who kills himself because of unrequited love, culminates in a young woman committing suicide

Blasted: Edward Bond, whose 1965 play Saved stirred a similar storm, defended Kane from the outset. "Blasted comes from the centre of our humanity and our ancient need for theatre. That's what gives it its strange, almost hallucinatory authority."

Cleansed: There is an enormous amount of depression in the play because I felt an enormous amount of despair when writing it," said Kane.
Even amid the eye-gouging, castration and dismemberment of the latter play, there were moments of beauty and even black humour provided by a choir of singing rats.

Crave: A poem for four voices, styled as two parallel conversations, it drew on T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland and the Bible.

--- Sherrie Lee, inkpot (link has gone- inkpot.com/theatre/constantcravingnusrev.html)

Phaedraīs Love. 'Phaedra's Love' (1996), a re-working of the Greek myth of Phaedra's love for her stepson Hippolytus, was an unabashed reference to the British Royal Family and the political situation of that time. Performed to an audience largely ignorant of the political implications, 'Phaedra's Love' lost its original sting, making the focus of Kane's play the depraved, "sex-because-I'm-bored", Hippolytus.

Crave. It seemed like a pairing of A & C and B & M but one could never really be sure with the dialogues, or rather, monologues made up of poetic fragments and recurring motifs.

click to go to link Peter Lathan, The British Theatre Guide, 7 March 1999

Kane's short life was in some respects as troubled as her professional career. Having embraced her parents' born-again Christianity in her teens, she then rejected it but was haunted by the violence and cruelty of many stories from the Bible. She had a breakdown in late 1997 and was hospitalised, so that her suicide, although shocking and very sad, was not something that was totally out of character.

click to go to link Markus Unger, Megalomaniac Prod
Sarah Kane For Kane the expression of utmost violence has always been the right frame for the representation of extreme love. For her, both was linked together inseparably: only in the barren landscape of violence and hate love gets the importance it deserves. It cost Kane a lot to write Cleansed, in an interview she said: 'There is an enormous amount of depression in the play because I felt an enormous amount of despair when writing it'. Sarah Kane Blasted

Sarah Kane herself saw her plays as manifestos about the possibilities and catastrophes of love. She was surprised that the plays that she considered to be about hope (Blasted), faith (Phaedra's Love) and love (Cleansed) seemed to have depressed everyone else, while Crave was seen as uplifting.

click to go to link Vincent O'Connell , Guardian, 25 Feb 1999

I first met Sarah Kane when she was a 17 year-old actress with Basildon Youth Theatre. She performed a play I had written wearing a neck brace - she had been in a car crash the night before the first performance.

What also brought her to my attention was that she was simultaneously directing a Chekhov play at her school. At Bristol University she directed a number of startling and vivid productions - Macbeth and Top Girls stand out, as well as the best production I had seen of my own stage work.

One night in Bristol she shyly showed me her first dramatic monologue: a brutal, beautifully written exposition of sexual violence. At 19, her work reminded me of Beckett.

We produced our short plays together, two years on the trot in Edinburgh -and the fringe performed its true function in accelerating exponentially the applied talent of a unique theatrical voice. She left me standing.


click to go to link Michael Billington, Guardian, 13 Oct 2005

The best Woyzeck for me remains Sarah Kane's 1997 Gate production which skilfully mixed realism and expressionism.

click to go to link Lyn Gardner, Guardian, 23 Feb 1999

While the tabloids tried to hunt her down, she spent her nights quietly watching her play at the Royal Court, a pale, thin, anonymous girl.

Ironically, Kane knew the territory well; she was a daughter of a Mirror journalist. For a short time in her teens, she and her family became fervent born-again Christians. Later, she rejected religion, but the violent, apocalyptic, biblical imagery remained a feature of her work.
In Cleansed, the second of her plays that I directed, her piece de resistance was perhaps the family of rats which appeared on stage in a late draft of the play. Apparently they were inspired by finding a dead rat in the cutlery drawer of her kitchen.


--- Benedict Nightingale, The Times, 3 Apr 2001 (Link has gone)

Joe Orton

Orton was 34 and much more established when his head was battered in by his lover in 1967; but he had still to revise what many regard as his masterpiece, What the Butler Saw. His career, too, was in its early stages. His reputation, too, was not yet solid.

This meant that for a long time nobody could write about Orton’s work without bringing his fate into the argument. Some went so far as to say that there was an awful logic in the savage death of a writer who had taken scandalous glee in questioning all values and flouting all taboos

click to go to link James Macdonald, Guardian Unlimited, 28 Feb 1999

She wasn't just promising, she delivered- a brave, angry, poetic body of work quite unlike anything else.

click to go to link Vicky Featherstone, Guardian, 12 May 1999

She was such a fantastic person to have around. We'd sit in my office and just talk for hours. She was somebody who was constantly feeding her mind.

click to go to link Simon Hattenstone, Guardian, 1 July 2000

When Mel Kenyon stood up to give a little speech at Sarah Kane's memorial, the words wouldn't come. She tried two or three times, before being defeated by her tears.

click to go to link Simon Hattenstone, Guardian, 1 July 2000 (part 2)

It was a very startling and tender voice, but she was appalled by the world in which she lived and the world within herself.

click for link Edward Bond, Guardian, 16 Dec 2000

[Blasted:] When Sarah Kane's Blasted was staged, the critics attacked it with the panicky rage which is the sign that finally they are writing about something profoundly important. The only contemporary play I wish I'd written, it is revolutionary.

4.48 is a great play: bitterly comic, full of a desire for life. It is also the document of our time.


click for link Simon Reade, Guardian, 12 Jan 2000

Pinter: She was a poet. The fact that Kane's and her contemporaries' work is chiefly remembered for its loud-mouthed aggression may have something to do with a wider, tabloid-titillating movement in the visual arts.



Sandra Laville, Telegraph, 23 Sept 1999

I want answers to why she was not properly cared for. And I want those answers in order that this doesn't happen to someone else's daughter.

Sarah Kane Olga Craig, Guardian, 11 Jul 2000

She wrote about the needy, the dispossessed, the ones in pain: Blasted, which was about Bosnia, showed her compassion, her desire to ease pain.

She was my only daughter and she could have had such a very full life. But Sarah crammed more into her 28 years - more feeling, more passion, more living - than most do in three score and 10. As her father I am very, very proud of that.

Sarah Kane
click to go to link Roger Barking, Bishop of Barking, Guardian, 8 Jul 2000

I will be eternally grateful to Sarah for challenging my own faith.

click to go to link Anthony Neilson, Guardian, 25 Feb 1999

Sarah Kane possessed the seeds of greatness, but did not live to reap them. She never found the 'truth' either, mental illness saw to that too.

click to go to link Jenni Murray, Guardian, 13 Jul 2000

In the two years before her death Miss Kane had been in and out of mental health care and had been prescribed a range of anti-depressants

click to go to link click to go to link Support, including by e-mail, for people who are depressed or feeling suicidal
--- click to go to link I don't think she was depressed, I think it was deeper than that. I think she felt something more like existential despair which is what makes many artists tick (first link has gone- infoculture.cbc.ca)
click to go to link Aleks Sierz

In-yer-face theatre is the kind of theatre which grabs the audience by the scruff of the neck and shakes it until it gets the message.

click to go to link J.D. Cully

Did you ever realise how beautiful you were?
Ever realise that you were loved?

click to go to link DīJarra

DīJarra are a band, and one of their songs is Crave, a spoken word piece inspired by Sarah Kane. It has been recorded and DīJarra are waiting a record deal. When its available Iīll include it on Hot News.


A play about the brilliant young British playwright Sarah Kane who committed suicide at the age of 28. Written by Adam Cass, The Anniversary Of The Death Of Sarah Kane explores Kane's life and death, drawing information from a range of peculiar tribute websites that have sprung up since her death.
click to go to link Hung be the Heavens with Black
Yield Day to Night!
click to go to link
She had just been working on an adaptation of Goethe’s Young Werther, where the love-stricken hero, failing to achieve the object of his desires, kills himself

In her teens she lived a very intense form of Christianity, strongly Biblically based, within the context of her family. "The reading I did in my formative years was the Bible, which is incredibly violent, full of rape, mutilation, war and pestilence." What is more, it is God who seems to sanction or indeed instigate all these horrors in the Biblical pages.


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