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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.
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on 6 June 2006
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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on 25 March 2016
These plays are, in my view, the work of a promising playwright in the making. They continue to divide opinion with the result that they seem to me to be over-praised by some and over-damned by others. I think they smack of early drafts of pieces that could have become very good, but I don't think they reached that level, even in the revises versions that we have.
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on 17 October 2016
Lacking in massage but full of brutality. Not pleasant to read unless you are masochistic. Shows possibly true at extreme very distorted life.
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on 9 March 2012
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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on 1 August 2016
I bought this mainly because I thoroughly enjoy reading 4.48 Psychosis, and I wasn't disappointed in any way. It's hard to come up with a playwright as provocative and confrontational as Kane, someone who shocks, disgusts, haunts and lures you in equal manner. Reading her plays and simultaneously researching her life, it's almost impossible not to establish an almost too perfect connection between the demons who haunt her writings and the ones who haunted her own life. Apart from the widely favourite 4.48 Psychosis, 'Blasted' and 'Skin' are the two most obvious standouts for me in what I would regard as compulsory reading for anyone studying drama, theatre and playwriting. To this day, I'm still at a loss as to why Kane never got the full recognition she so clearly deserves.
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on 6 March 2014
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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on 8 December 2015
It's Sarah Kane so you expect it to be great - and it is. Some people might find the content disturbing, disgusting, offensive, or just "too much" but as a drama student I think her work is fascinating. A must have for students and anyone interested in contemporary theatre... though should come with an age rating of 15 plus. Product arrived quickly and in good condition, price was fair for what I recieved. Very pleased.
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on 31 January 2010
It shocks you, it makes you laugh, it makes you come near to tears, it makes you smile, and it makes you THINK. I read the plays in complete awe, turning each page eagerly to find out the next twist or turn. Some people may think it is grotesque - but Kane makes these inhumane acts beautiful; for example when a character eats a baby, you are disgusted but yet at the same time you know how his body is starving for food and perhaps for love too.

You must read these plays! Amazing!
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on 11 August 2009
I brought this book becuase I had read an extract from 'Blasted' and wanted to read more. Now, these scripts are very graphic and some people may say sickening. However, Sarah Kane was a genuis. She wrote about truth at the time, and this shows clearly through Blasted. I recomend this to anyone.
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