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WELCOME TO KANEFEST Sarah Kane's professional writing career spanned less than only about four years (Sierz). She wrote 5 stage plays, and 1 screen play. From the opening night of Blasted, it was clear that Sarah was very different from many of the playwrights whose works were coloring the popular stages of Great Britain at the time. Initially harshly criticized for writing in a style that refuses to shy away from neither emotional nor physical ugliness: the voice that would soon make her so distinct, she is now commonly praised in many theatre communities as not only brave, but as brilliant. As she wrote, her voice evolved and grew. Her plays have now fallen comfortably into the genre we have come to call "In Yer Face Theate". "In Yer Face "implies being forced to see something close up, having your personal space invaded. It suggests the crossing of normal boundaries. In short, it describes perfectly the kind of theatre that puts audiences in just a situation" (Sierz). Unfortunately, Kane is known for her suicide almost as much as she is known for her remarkable work. In chronological order, KANEFEST brings you Blasted, Cleansed, Crave, Phaedra's love, 4.48 Psychosis and a special screening of the film, Skin. We also invite you to hear the words of Graham Saunders and Simon Kane, Sarah Kane’s brother. KANEFEST is an invitation. MUSE theatre dares you to enter the mind of a young, courageous female playwright, Sarah Kane. Immerse yourself in a week long, theatrical experience in which perceptions are shattered and raw emotions are key. Dare to.

Makambe K Simamba Makambe K Simamba, Artistic Director

2013 SEASON MUSE Theatre strives to produce artistically innovative work that focuses on the underrepresented stories and perspectives of the world's women. MUSE Theatre is an organization that artistically explores these stories in a way that is stimulating, challenging, and most importantly,relevant.

The following line-up for KANEFEST appears in the order the plays originally premiered, in an attempt to illustrate the development and fragmentation of Kane’s writing as she strayed further and further away from naturalism. “The struggle of the self to remain intact [in Kane’s work] has [progressively] moved from civil war, into the family, into the couple, into the individual and finally into the theatre of psychosis: the mind itself” (Greig xvi) which we hope to illustrate through the presentation of her plays in this festival. Blasted (1995) Phaedra’s Love (1996) Cleansed (1998) Crave (1998) 4.48 Psychosis (2000)

"Theatre has no memory, which makes it the most existential of the arts....I keep coming in hope that someone in a darkened room somewhere will show me an image that burns itself into my mind." - Sarah Kane


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Blasted explores the world of Ian and Cate, starting in a fancy hotel room in Leeds. As the play progresses the world become bleaker as we see Ian who “is a journalist bystander who becomes a perpetrator and, finally, a victim.” (xvii). This evolution of Ian’s character also reveals Cate’s character when we see her flip between powerless to powerful in relation to Ian. The play starts in a seemingly realistic manner but is soon, quite literally “blown apart by violence. It is as though the act of rape, which blasts the inner world of both victim and perpetrator, has also destroyed the world outside the room” (x). However dark and violent Blasted appears to be it also reveals a glimmer of hope at the end, in the kind nurturing Cate gives to Ian, revealing powerful acts of love in a world full of hate.

“Proving it happened. I’m here, got no choice. But you. You should be telling people.”



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Cleansed takes a further step away from naturalism as “Kane stripped away the mechanics of explanatory narrative and presented the audience with a series of poetic images and pared dialogue” (xii). It takes place in an institution of some kind under a torturer/doctor named Tinker. The play further explores the nature of love, testing boundaries of how much “one lover can truthfully promise another” (xii) pushing each character to the edge and physically breaking them apart - “Limbs are removed, skins removed, genitals removed, and identities forcibly changed until, in the plays final scene, each inhabitant carries the fragments of someone else’s identity” (xii). However hopeless the play appears, it does have a glimmer of hope in it as we see that Tinker too is capable of some level of humanity.

“Hear a voice or catch a smile turning from the mirror You bastard how dare you leave me like this.”



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Crave is a play that is divided into four voices identified only by A, M, C and B. “The voices speak without concrete context and there is only the most fragmentary hint of a narrative” (xiv) instead, predominately addressing themes such as sexual, abusive, maternal love, violence, internal suffering, and suicide. The piece, when performed, “is surprisingly musical…(demanding) attendance to its rhythms in performance, revealing it’s meanings not line by line but rather like a string quartet, in the hypnotic play of different voices and themes” (xiv) – the piece is brought together into a fragmented whole. “While (Kane’s) voice was powerful and unique it also owed a great deal to the playwrights whose work she admired: Buchner, Beckett, Bon and Barker for example” (xv) and the construction/structure was predominant amongst this seemingly structureless piece.

“She’s talking about herself in third person because the idea of being who she is, of acknowledging that she is herself, is more than her pride can take.”



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A retelling of the Phaedra myth, where the “world of the stage is dark and extreme but now the source of the pain has narrowed down…to war within the family… It is also the first of Kane’s plays to deal explicitly her main theme: love.” (x-xi). The play centers around Hippolytus – a dark young man driven by hedonistic and sexual desires. His own narcissism and lack of emotions make him blind to those around him. His step mother Phaedra is in love with him and after having her love denied many times, she commits suicide leaving a note saying Hippolytus raped her. Hippolytus is torn apart by an enraged crowd, including his father, and “remains, in his mordant final line, emotionally intact, even as his body is dismembered and its fragments lie about him” (xi). Through this play Kane has marked out “the two poles that are the extremes of the human response to love” (xi) which lead in the destruction of a family.

“May we burn in hell. God may be all powerful, but there’s one thing he can’t do…he can’t make me good.”



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Kane wrote 4.48 Psychosis during a deep bout of depression “for a period of he depression, Kane had found herself awoken, every morning, at 4.48 a.m. She took this moment, the darkest hour, just before dawn, and found in it a moment of great clarity, a moment when the confusions of psychosis seemed to evaporate.” (xvi). This moment is paradoxically a point which, “to those outside it, the moment where delusion us at its strongest” (xvi), this outside perception is apparent in the figure who appears to be a doctor or someone who the central figure in the fragmented narrative is interacting with. This piece has the least structure of all of Kane’s plays, appearing as a long poem or monologue, not identifying number or gender of characters. The piece seems to track the hopeless struggle of a person’s battle with suicide.

“Sometimes I turn around and catch the smell of you and I cannot go on I cannot fucking go on without expressing this terrible so fucking awful physical aching fucking longing I have for you. And I cannot believe that I feel this for you and you feel nothing.”



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Author of two books detailing the work of Sarah Kane; ‘Love me or kill me ‘Sarah Kane and the theatre of extremes and About Kane: The playwright & the work. Saunders is a Reader in Theatre at the University of Reading in England. His main academic interests is focused on contemporary British drama since 1945, he has also researched the history of the Arts council of Great Britain’s impact on theatre culture in Britain. He also studies the relationships between Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre, contemporary British dramatists and Samuel Beckett. He is the principal investigator for the AHRC award 'Giving Voice to the Nation': The Arts Council of Great Britain and the development of Theatre and Performance in Britain 19451995. He is also co- investigator of the project Staging Beckett: The Impact of Productions of Samuel Beckett's Drama on Theatre Practice and Cultures in the United Kingdom and Ireland.



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Sarah Kane’s brother, Simon has been running his sisters literary estate since her death in 1999, and is now an active participant in the production of his sister’s plays. Since 2007 he has worked as a theatre photographer. He accredits the work he has done with his sister’s plays as giving him a distinct advantage in his work as a theatre photographer. Simon’s work as a photographer for theatre is recognized in his mother country of England as well as New York, where his photos were presented in the New York Times website showcasing his work on the Soho Rep’s production of his sisters first play Blasted.




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One of Sarah Kane’s favorite bands, The Pixies (Ravenhill) has agreed to a special musical performance in honor of KANEFEST. The Pixies are an American alternative rock band from Boston; they first got together in 1986. The Pixies were a very popular group in the United Kingdom during Sarah’s life. They group disbanded in 1993 but since 2004 has reunited and is performing once again. Please join us in Nicholas Sheran Park for this special performance in homage to an inspiring playwright.

Musical line-up: • • • • •


Where’s My Mind (1988) Hey (1989) Here Comes Your Man (1989) Debaser (1989) Monkey Gone To heaven (1989)


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WORKS CITED Nebru, Unknown. Defrag. N.d. Photograph. PhomboWeb. 15 Apr 2013. < s_mixed_HQ_wallpapers-58.jpg_Defrag_wp.jpg>. Ravenhill, Mark. “ ‘Suicide art’? She’s better than that”. Guardian UK. Web. October 12, 2005. <> Saunders, Graham. Love Me or Kill Me. N.d. Photograph. n.p. Web. 10 Apr 2013. <>. Sierz, Aleks. “Sarah Kane”. In-Yer-Face Theatre. Web. 14 April, 2013. <> Unknown. "Sarah Kane Biography." Biography Base. N.p.. Web. 10 Apr 2013. <>. Unknown, . Fear Owns All of Us. N.d. Photograph. PhomboWeb. 10 Apr 2013. < s_mixed_HQ_wallpapers-27.jpg_FearOwnsUsAll_v2.jpg>. Unknown, . Don't Look At Me. N.d. Photograph. PhomboWeb. 10 Apr 2013. < lpapers_mixed_HQ_wallpapers-32.jpg_Don__t_Look_At_Me_display.jpg>. Unknown, . N.d. Photograph. TumblrWeb. 9 Apr 2013. < R1s49c6co1_r1_1280.jpg>. Unknown, . Very Conceptual and Terrific Dark Art. N.d. Photograph. BlogspotWeb. 10 Apr 2013. <>. Unknown, . Black and White Abstract. N.d. Photograph. art-photograh-galleryWeb. 9 Apr 2013. <>. Unknown, . N.d. Photograph. fotothingWeb. 10 Apr 2013. <>.



Sally, Makambe, Alisha, and Idamaria