AB's Reviews > Blasted

Blasted by Sarah Kane
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Sep 09, 2009

bookshelves: author-f, for-school, own, plays
Read in November, 2009

Nowhere near ready to rate this now, or possibly ever, I don't know. Read it on the bus this morning (happy birthday to me, indeed) and have been thinking about it all day, when I could stand it.
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message 1: by unnarrator (new)

unnarrator You are a brave, brave woman.

message 2: by AB (new) - added it

AB Yeah, I can't even.

But I ran into a classmate later on today as I was leaving, and she was absolutely jazzed about Kane's work and wrote her term paper on this just after I said I couldn't imagine doing the same, and I guess I just enjoyed her ebullience in contrast to my inability to do anything other than numb myself and sit for awhile with my mouth open. Funny how that works.

message 3: by unnarrator (new)

unnarrator You know, I keep checking out the collected plays and then I just literally cannot read them. I suspect I'd need to see them performed. If someone would, like, tie me to the theater chair and promise me endless vanilla organic marshmallows if I survived the evening.

message 4: by AB (new) - added it

AB Still can't give this a star rating. Still have to draw a little circle of silence around it if I'm even going to think about it. Which is, I guess, a rating just by itself.

message 5: by unnarrator (last edited Jan 10, 2010 01:33PM) (new)

unnarrator I was thinking about this in the dark of a sleepless night, a few days ago. That it's all SO horrifying it pretty much just makes me start laughing helplessly, à la Beckett or Kafka. It's the stage directions, really. What else can you do but crack up when faced with, let's see (pulls out copy of Complete Plays which has never been far from side since December 1) "Cate is burying the baby under the floor" or best of all, of course, "He dies with relief." Maybe it's just me? (Okay, it's just me.) But I laugh the same way I laugh at Kafka, when I read her stuff. It's just blisteringly weepingly hair-clutchingly wet-myself funny.

Of course the critics hated her. Of COURSE they did.

You must, must read Cleansed, she meant it as a sequel and was going to write a trilogy, but then stopped—

message 6: by unnarrator (last edited Jan 10, 2010 01:38PM) (new)

unnarrator You've read this interview, right? It's my passionate favourite.


(Dang I wish I could write her biography! I'm sure five people are already clambering all over it though.)

Anyway I love this bit, about the opening night of Blasted:

"So I was sitting at the back and looked around and realised that the director was somewhere near the front and everyone else was a critic. I think there were about three other women in the audience. Everyone else was a middle-aged, white, middle-class man—and most of them had plaid jackets on. (Laughter)

"And it was literally only at that point that I realised that the main character of my play was a middle-aged male journalist. (More laughter) ...And it suddenly occurred to me that they wouldn't like it. (Laughter)"

message 7: by unnarrator (new)

unnarrator (I just read this aloud to the Brujo, after explaining who Ian is, and there was More Laughter.)

message 8: by AB (new) - added it

AB She said no biographies, though! According to her brother. No biographies; just the work.

I do laugh -- that sequence at the end, before he dies for the first or is it the only time -- I mean. I go back and forth between thinking it's legitimately hysterically funny, and only being able to emit that weak ha-ha-ha that happens just before you throw up.

And speaking of which, if you haven't read The Pillowman -- you need to.

message 9: by unnarrator (new)

unnarrator You speak truth. Though usually am only able to laugh after the throwing-up.

No biographies is kind of a relief. But: I think: her brother is a real turkey.

I haven't! I do need to! Going to check our library right now—

message 10: by AB (new) - added it

AB Ha! A turkey! How come?

And I hope your library has it, because damn.

message 11: by unnarrator (new)

unnarrator It's on hold already!

Oh, various things he said in that Guardian interview, which, I just don't buy it. E.g.:

Throughout their early teens, God dominated the household. The four of them went along to an evangelical church every Sunday. In the few interviews Sarah gave, she described it as "the full spirit-filled, born-again lunacy", and railed against the naivety of her religious years.

Simon winces, and says the news reports gave the wrong impression. "At the time of her death, it came across in the papers as if Mum and Dad had forced this mad, cultish religion on us. It really wasn't like that. Of all of us, I'd say Sarah was the most fervent." He says their Christianity was one of compassion, love thy neighbour as thyself, rather than vengeance is mine. "If people had problems, Sarah would always listen and do whatever she could to help them out. I was aware of it as a child because I wasn't so much like that. I got to a point where I'd say, 'I'm sorry, I just can't deal with this,' and I don't remember Sarah ever doing that."


message 12: by AB (new) - added it

AB It's a little weird, but I mean, I would like it less if his describing her as fervent didn't sort of dovetail into his describing her as better than he is. Which makes me believe it's some sort of lopsided attempt at affection/praise, which I can appreciate even buried as it is in an attempt to backpedal about his loony parents.

message 13: by unnarrator (new)

unnarrator Maybe it's because I'm thinking of Jeanette Winterson/MYSELF, but I'd take her word over his when it comes to just how intensely she experienced the "born-again lunacy" with which she grew up. I mean, it was HER experience, so I think she gets to describe how it affected her, even if HE thinks it wasn't really evangelical or whatever, now. Because evangelical is evangelical. And she was a poet (having read Psychosis 4.48 I stand by this assertion), and it was going to hit her like that, because she was Sensitive.

And also I find something weird about his suddenly discovering this passion for the theatre, too? In the second half of that article?

"Simon Kane is looking out on to the Royal Court and talking about Sarah's influence on him. He says it's only in the past three years or so that he has really got to grips with theatre. When he first read Blasted, he was baffled, asked her what's that all about then. She told him to read it again. So he did. And again, until he began to realise how good it was. In the last year of Sarah's life, she began to take him to see plays, recommend texts for him to read, talk to him about new projects. As if she was preparing him for his new life. Really, he says, they always had a lot in common."

But. I'm just cynical and paranoid and bitchy for some reason tonight. Ignore me.

message 14: by AB (new) - added it

AB But. I'm just cynical and paranoid and bitchy for some reason tonight. Ignore me.

No, it's fine. Really I don't disagree with you; I'm just approaching it from a more benefit-of-the-doubt-inclined angle, I guess. Which totally has nothing to do with you or with Simon Kane and everything to do with the fact that my own relationships with my siblings are so guilt-sodden that I cling to depictions of other sibling relationships, however unrealistic, all "Hey look it can totally exist someday! See see!"


message 15: by unnarrator (new)

unnarrator Siblings! I forget about those (not having any, or being one). But yes I think they can. Exist. Guilt-free relationships. Though there is all that inconvenient Inner-Work and Passage-of-Time stuff involved. Which Simon, tragically, now doesn't get to do with his sister (though he still gets to do it alone).

I wonder if he'll be directing other people's plays in ten years' time? [/cynicism and paranoia:]

PS Why DOES Goodreads insist on putting colons right before my closing brackets?! Makes me barmy, that does.

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