SARAH KANE BEFORE BLASTED
Rebellato, Dan. "Sarah Kane before Blasted: The Monologues." In Sarah Kane in Context, edited by Graham Saunders and Laurence De Vos, 28-44. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010.
This article concerns Sarah Kane's three one-woman plays, Comic Monologue, What She Said and Starved.
These plays have never been published, indeed the Estate refuses to allow them to be performed and published - or even quoted from. This gave me a major problem in writing the article, since I wasn’t allowed to quote a single word from any of the plays and had to rely on analysis and description.
That said, the article is quite successful, I think, for two reasons (a) it fills in a story about her development as a writer that complicates the romanticised idea that Sarah came out of nowhere fully-formed with Blasted, and (b) it reveals that she cannibalised these early plays, especially Starved, when she wrote Crave. (And because she did so, I am able to quote from Starved by quoting from Crave!)
I understand the Estate’s desire not to circulate those early plays but I think it’s a mistake, because Sarah’s simply too important a writer for these things to be suppressed. It’s of genuine interest to see these works published and discussed. There are samizdat copies of these things around and I’m sure they’ll circulate more and more widely. Someone is bound to put a scanned copy online at some point.
What they reveal, I think, is that she always had a taste for the confrontational, for stark horror, and a keen sense of emotional complexity. But they also show someone beginning with a rather didactic sense of theatrical communication, who discovers more and more formal fragmentation, personal pain in the structure of the plays, and an ever greater use of gallows wit.