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Sarah Kane: Complete Plays (Methuen Contemporary Dramatists) Paperback – 1 May 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Methuen Drama (1 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0413742601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0413742605
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.1 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"Sarah Kane, a provocative playwright whose bleak view of the limitations of human relationships and graphic dramatizations of violence and sex earned her a reputation as an enfant terrible of the British theater..."Blasted" immediately established her as an important voice in modern playwriting."--"The New York Times" "Kane wrote simply and starkly about the world she saw around her...a mature and vividly theatrical response to the pain of living."--"Guardian " "Shocking and revelatory."--"New York Magazine" ("Blasted" review) "As compact and beautiful as a diamond in structure--and yet the mood it inspires is as black as coal."--"Time Out" ("4.48 Psychosis" review) "A hugely unnerving theatrical experience, shot through with the language of the Bible and a genuinesly poetic richness."--"Time Out" ("Crave" review) "The writing has an almost unparalleled distiled intensity which is often unbearable to watch...To some it will be repellent.Others will recognize it as absolute proof of the power of live theatre."--"Independent" ("Cleansed" review) "Pure theatre. Or rather, impure theatre: dirty, alarming, dangerous."--"Observer "("Phaedra's Love" review)""

About the Author

Sarah Kane (1971 - 1999) was an English dramatist. She is best known for the extraordinary public controversy over "Blasted," her first play which, like subsequent works from her, were shocking and defining moments in theater: explosive, theatrical, lyrical and laced with emotional power and bleak humor.

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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
At last, all the plays of the most brilliantly original, talented and thought-provoking playwright to emerge in the last decade are collected together. While Sarah Kane didn't start the new wave of 'in-yer-face' theatre she certainly pushed back the boundaries and paved the way for Mark Ravenhill, Rebecca Prichard, Joanna Laurens et al.
Confronting war, abuse of all kinds, extreme boredom, hypocrisy, clinical depression, obsessive love, lost love, Sarah's brilliance lies in using her own emotional catharsis to create radical, stunning plays. Who else would set a love story in an ethnic cleansing camp?
She was, famously, not afraid to show the full horrors of extreme violence by depicting it on stage - as she herself said, "If you are saying you can't represent something on stage, you are denying its existence, and that's an extremely ignorant thing to do" - but it would be a shame if this were allowed to obscure her capacity for mordant black humour, and for the most beautiful poetry. For the finest example of the latter, read the play Crave. Written by her to get over a broken affair, she there achieved a stated ambition of hers, "to create something beautiful out of despair."
Sarah sings with compassion for the desperate, the lonely and the abused, while socking home points as topical as tomorrow's news. Her tragic death at 28 deprived us not only of a very lovely lady but of many more wonderful plays, but her voice will go on. Her own work will be performed for centuries and new writers influenced by her are already emerging.
In the words of the poet, "What is rare is the courage to follow talent to the dark place where it leads." Sarah had that courage.
Thank you, Sarah. You will never be forgotten.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ms. N. M. Smith on 6 Jun. 2006
Format: Paperback
I got this book by complete chance. A friend of mine wanted to buy me a book for christmas and i was drawn to this selection of plays. I am an avid theatre goer and reader but had never heard of Sarah Kane so it was a bit of a chance buy. What a book. I could not put it down from start to finish. I stayed up all night reading it as it was absolutely gripping. It is supremely dark but written with intelligence and thought. It is an abstract representation on her own view of life and i believe that it is truly brilliant work. What a shame that the world has lost a writer such as Sarah Kane.
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Format: Paperback
Sarah Kane is one of our finest modern love poets. Her plays, smoking with anger, despair and violence, explore the nature of romantic love, exposing its fascism. I don't like the term "tortured artist," but those who do might find no better example of it in recent years than Kane. A suicide at 28, her work, taken as a whole, is the ultimate portrait of the disturbed creative mind, beginning with order and ending in chaos.
With each play her narratives become more abstract, until we reach 4.48 Psychosis, which has no characters or stage directions, but is like a mad voice in the dark. She's an acquired taste. Her first three plays - Blasted, Phaedra's Love and Cleansed - are notorious for their graphic violence. Cannibalism, disembowelment, torture and rape haunt her early work, and may make it unpalatable for those without irony. Her characters range from sadistic monsters eventually redeemed by their suffering (Ian from Blasted) to those imprisoned by melancholia (Hippolytus from Phaedra's Love, and Kane herself, her voice underscoring each line of 4.48 Psychosis).
Her vision is tenderly savage. She sees through love, and has empathy for even her most vile creations, but is destroyed by hopelessness. Her insight is also her cross. Her world is a dark and barren place. It's useful to remember while reading or watching her plays that one can be happy as well, though sorrow will not be ignored. At the other end of all the pain and horror is a flickering redemption, waiting for those who seek it.
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My new favorite playwright and I'd pay anything to be able to see a production. I first read 'Blasted' for my English degree and I was literally... blasted. I've never read a play like it. It left me wanting to read more. Sure, Sarah Kane is violent but if you like reading that sort of thing, it shouldn't bother you. There is definitely more to be experienced and felt under the descriptions of brutality and mutilation that always keep you guessing how the hell Kane intended these to be portrayed on stage. Merciless both to the institution of theatre and the audience, these plays are some of the most raw and uncompromising texts you will ever read and are not to be sniffed at. Don't let the writer's suicide mar your enjoyment of the plays either. They are texts on their own but it is undoubtedly tragic that such an original and imaginative talent was cut short.
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I have been aware of Sarah Kane as a writer & of her tragic end for some time but I had never seen or read any of her work.

A director friend of mine mentioned she was looking to direct Blasted so primarily I bought this collection to read the play.

I have read the play (as well as the others in the collection) and I have to say Sarah Kane's work is a shocking, brilliant and original voice in world theatre.

Visceral and upsetting - the plays grip you by the throat and keeps hold until the piece ends.

I would recommend this collection to anyone - you certainly won't have read anything like it before and I doubt you will again.
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