Monday, October 27, 2008

The Fifth Wall: Sarah Kane and "Blasted":

Critics make a lot out the connection that Kane drew between Blasted and Bosnia. Watching the production at Soho Rep, I also read it as a 9/11 play from a prescient leftie Brit. Read Ian as colonialist America and the soldier as al Qaeda hijackers. I don't like to reduce the play to political symbolism. But I think there's a connection between the European sense of surprise and horror at the Balkan violence and the American freak-out after the attack within our borders. When genocide and terrorism happens somewhere else, it's seen as mass dementia or inherent barbarity; when it happens to you, it's not so easy to dismiss. Kane's trying to shock the audience into seeing itself as Ian.

So, to get back to Isaac's question: what's the value in putting yourself through the play? Like other radical dramas (Woyzeck springs to mind), it shocks you out of complacency. It displays human behavior shorn of all Romantic trappings. It absolutely resists convention and cliché. It expands your conception of what it's possible to show and do onstage.

5:42 PM