Today it has been a pretty lazy day. It´s been raining all day long. The real cloudburst and downpour with lightnings and claps of thunder. The sky has been dark since morning so it seems that the night hasn´t ended yet.
The right day for a good book. Or the book you haven´t finished yet:-) That´s my case. I started reading Blasted (a play by Sarah Kane) when I was travelling back home from the work. But the journey was too short to read the whole play and I haven´t had much time to read the rest of it at home. Since now. I am still reading it and I love it. Sarah Kane was a part of the In-Yer-Face Theatre movement in Britain in the 90s. One of those angry young people who wanted to make the audience react somehow.
Every important period in the history of England (and of course not just only England) is connected with some new plays or authors who dominated that time. There was Elizabethan-Jacobean period (Marlowe, Shakespeare, Jonson etc.), the era from 1675 to the beginning of the 18th centrury when theatres were full of witty comedies by Congreve, Vanburgh and George Farquahar. And finally the era between 1890 and the broke out of the WWI when plays by Oscar Wilde and Bernard Shaw appeared.
It seems that all these periods have something in common – many historical events happened, and the audience wanted to cope with these events and their results. In the theatres there were forums born, where people could examine problems they had.
The In-Yer-Face Theatre, or Coolness Drama as it is sometimes called, has its roots in the 70s. The election of Margaret Thatcher as the Prime Minister of the UK had many consequences both to the theatres and to other things in Britain. The whole 80s was an era of commercialization of the British theatre characterized by theatre consumerism and the retreat of new dramatists. That time became an era of the spectacular shows and the pivotal genre was high-tech musical (West End in London).
In 1990 Margaret Thatcher was prime minister no more and a revolution took place in British theatre. New authors appeared and their vivid plays were full of triviality of the relationships, sex, blood, drugs, homosexuality or racialism. These plays wanted to shock the audience via their language or form.
Sarah Kane was born in Essex on 3 February 1971. She grew up in a very religious family. Both parents were journalists. She followed her parents both in literature and religion. She kept the first one but the religion she lost very soon. She studied drama at Bristol University, then did an MA at Birmigham University. In Birmingham she met David Edgar who had a creative writing course there and Sarah Kane completed this course.
Her whole work is closed and in fact astonishingly completed. She suffered from manic depression for many years and she commited suicide on 20 February 1999. She wrote five plays: Blasted, Phaedra´s Love, Cleansed, Crave, 4.48 Psychosis. The reviewers didn´t understand her plays at first. They didn´t understand that theatricality of her texts isn´t in the content but in the images.
That is why they were disgusted by violence, brutality and canibalism of her first play Blasted and described it as a disguisting feast of filth.
But Sarah Kane was influenced by Harold Pinter and Edward Bond. It was Edward Bond who wrote these lines as an introduction of his Lear in 1972:
"I am writing about the violence so ordinarily as Jane Austen wrote about polite manners. Violence is forming and taking hold of our society, and if we don´t stop behave in a violence way, there will be no future for us. People, who doesn´t want the writers to write about the violence, want to prohibit writing about our time period. It would be immoral to not write about the violence."