Oct 7, 2008

An Early Blast

George Hunka, who recently celebrated five years in the theatro-blogosphere, weighs in early on Soho Rep's New York premiere of Blasted. He calls Sarah Kane's play
one of the most powerful and influential first plays in generations (perhaps only Beckett's Waiting for Godot and John Osborne's Look Back in Anger can be compared to its significance for the English-language theatre of the second half of the 20th century). That it has taken this long to get to New York is in some way criminal; the crime is redeemed by the first-class achievement and power of Soho Rep's production, as necessary and urgent as the play itself.

It's a thoughtful consideration with a particular emphasis on ambiguities in the ending ("spoiler alert" hardly applies for a play as written and talked about as Blasted).

My problem, if I can just lay my cards down, is that no amount of critical praise has persuaded me, perhaps ever could persuade me, that I must rush out to see a play that graphically depicts rape, defecation, and cannibalism. In fact, as a rule I tend to avoid works of art that promise to depict such things. Does that make me a prude? I pretty much hated Lieutenant of Inishmore for similar reasons (but on the other hand, I loved Bug--am I a hypocrite?). I don't mean to venture into the Sarah Kane discussion blindly or naively--I understand, and take George's word for it, that she's an important writer, and I should obviously correct at least some of my ignorance by reading her work, while opting out, if I may, from witnessing it onstage.

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