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Her voice will go on
on 9 March 2001
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.