on March 12, 2004
This is the play that introduced the world to Sarah Kane. It is undoubtedly violent and sexually explicit, but through all this pain and anguish grows love and forgiveness.
The play is set during an unnamed civil war, the action, however, takes place in Ian's hotel room in Leeds. Ian, a reporter, lures Cate, his former lover back to his hotel where he abuses, belittle's, and minimalises her to nothing more than a piece of pentratable flesh. However, pretator becomes prey when a tortured, guilt-ridden but totally immoral soldier invades the room and proceedes to punish Ian for both his social (to Cate) and political (as a reporter in the field) crimes. The horror he inflicted upon Cate is multiplied infinately upon himself by the soldier. He is left humiliated, impotent, hungry and stripped of all "civilisation". Kane makes him nothing more than a helpless animal. With nowhere left to turn, his only salvation now is Cate.
Marquis de Sade meets shakespeare? yes. Perhaps more on Shakespeare than de Sade although many might disagree. The language is stripped back and minimalistic and the violence is written like dialouge. This is a huge challenge for the actor but Kane makes it clear what she wants from the three players. Yes the violence (which I haven't even begun to discuss and shall avoid doing so), is extreme. PREPARE THYSELF. Despite this, the soul of Kane's debut is the gentleness that reaches through it. Upon first reading/viewing, most will be shocked and repulsed but observe: The most gentle, least violent of the three characters is the one most triumphant (or closest to it). The most provocative aspect of this play is (apart from the violence) is the extreme fragility of these characters even when they are commiting the most vicious acts. Underneath the horror is something precious that's been broken somewhere and they can't move on with their lives. The play is written to make your heart bleed, not make your stomache churn.
These are not one-diamensional characters despite their brutality. This has the potential to be a dynamic play but that all depends on the choices of the actor and director.
I encourage ALL to read it even if it's from morbid curiosity. There is an undeniable beauty here that will be discovered if you look closely. This isn't a horror show. It serves a higher, moral purpose. See for yourself.
on December 18, 2014
Sat down immediately after getting it and read it straight through in forty minutes. I had no idea what to expect, and once I finished I literally could not move or speak for ten, fifteen minutes because of how crazy this book is.
Then, two weeks later my brother performed a staged reading of this at a theatre with three other people and I had the same reaction.
10/10 because it's fantastic but I'm never reading this play ever ever ever again.
on February 18, 2005
Briskly sloughing off all but the necessary history of two people's past's, and keeping the present hooded and unknown, Sarah Kane puts people together under circumstances that press from multiple directions, and squeeze them until they are as compact, as primal, or as insane as humanly possible.
Ian and Cate know each other. They were together before and now, are together again, in a posh hotel room in Leeds. He's older. She's more confused and goes through spells, possibly seizures. He's a reporter, who carries a gun and is dying. She can't help but lead him on. In comes the Soldier, and the War and the vile difference between two people feeling each other out while playing sexual politics, and someone beyond limits and feelings and hopes.
To say this is a shocking play is an understatement. It is very violent, sexual and disturbing. There is nudity, much alcohol/smoking, gun threats, rape, oral sex, torture, cannabalism, masturbation....
And it's powerful. Beyond the point of this play lies a no man's land.
on May 15, 2007
Ten years on the dust about the "in-yer-face" theatre had been settled. Blasted was the first in a serious of sexual and violent plays. The play was a slap in the face for the everyday audience in the nineties.
The play takes place in a hotel room in Leeds where Cate and Ian stop for a night. Ian is a tabloid reporter with a rude manner. He drinks to much and smoke to many fags. Cate is a serious, shy and young woman with fits during the play. They talk about Ian's health problems and Cate's life. Ian abuses Cate later, this takes place in the off. As the soldier enters, Ian got raped by the soldier. The torture for the audience continues as the play goes on. Ian eats a dead baby and Cate got raped for bread and a bottle of gin at the end.
Sarah Kane showed how the atrocities of war have a connection with the daily behaviour to each other. A child abuse and the raping of a woman have the same defects to the soul on a lower level. The play is a mixture of emotional and physical violence. This makes the play very unbearable for the audience. Cate is the only light in the play. She has a religious belief after all and she is showing her social care as she feeds the blind Ian in the last scene.