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I am the beast at the end of the rope."
Sarah Kane (3 February 1971 – 20 February 1999) was a English Playwright, whose work is classed in the league of In-Yer-Face Theatre. From her mind she created a mirror to the blunt reality that is human cruelty. Her work was filled with themes of redemptive love, sexual desire, pain, torture—both physical and psychological—and death. Her earlier work presented the work in a violent style, that was simple in it's dialogue and staged in a experimental style.

Works:

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  • Blasted - 1995
  • Skin - 1995 (Her only Movie)
  • Phaedra's Love - 1996
  • Cleansed - 1998
  • Crave - 1998
  • 4.48 Psychosis - 1999


Her play Blasted shocked the stale West End critics their reviews became iconic and Sarah received the friendship of other iconic playwrights, like Edward Bond, Caryl Churchill and Harold Pinter. She would also inspire others including Martin Crimp and Mark Ravenhill. Sadly she was battling depression, it was a battle she lost, despite being put on suicide watch while in hospital after a failed overdose, there was a faithful breakdown of communication and she hung herself.
Since Sarah's death, her work has been revisited by the critics and her plays are regularly preformed and her work is part of the Preforming Arts study for British Universities

Sarah's Work contains examples of the following:

  • Ambiguously Bi: It's suggested with a few of Sarah's characters what their truth sexuality identities are, but with Sarah herself she is posthumously classed as a Lesbian writer, but apart from some Female relationships in University there is nothing else to suggest it apart from her physical appearance.
  • Angry White Man: Ian in Blasted is this, he uses language that offends Cate and doesn't work for his plans. In Skin, Billy is a skinhead who is part of a gang that later attack a Church where a interracial wedding is taking place.
  • Black Humour: Despite Phaedra's Love being the least of Sarah's plays to be preformed, it has plenty of jokes throughout. To the point that the writer joked it was a Comedy
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  • Break the Cutie: Whenever you call Cate a cutie or not she goes though this after Ian forces himself on her or escaping the hotel then return to the ruins with a sick baby which dies in her arms but by the end she isn't afraid to have sex for food.
  • Cassandra Truth: Despite Hippolytus and Strophe knowing that Phaedra lied they are still treated badly for this suffering a fate worst than Cassandra did.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: In Skin Billy is tortured by Marcia a black woman, she hits him, scrubs his tats off with bleaches, feeds him dog food and carves her name on his back the torture was so bad that Channel Four aired it before midnight.
    • Cleansed has Tinker mentally and physically torturing the patients.
  • Creator Breakdown: Sarah's mental health was the subject of 4.48 Psychosis, the fact she doesn't fail to soften the blow.
  • Creator Cameo: Sarah came to Theatre as an actress her classmate was Simon Pegg, she did play the roles of Grace in Cleansed and M in Crave after the actresses left the shows.
  • Creator's Oddball: Sarah's last two plays Crave and 4.48 Psychosis are lacking the violence of the former plays, she even created a pen name when Crave premiered so that nobody came to it with a expectation.
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  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Masturbation or somewhat close appears in Blasted, Phaedra's Love, Cleansed and Skin, it's only in the last two it doesn't happened.
  • Downer Ending: Of course all her work has this trope in some way or another.
  • Downfall by Sex: Blasted, Phaedra's Love and Cleansed all have sex scenes, then something bad happened to the characters apart from Cate with the soldiers or Tinker and the Woman.
  • Eye Scream: Blasted has this Ian's eyes are eaten by a Solider with PTSD who recreates the scene of his girlfriend's rape and death. To make matters worst Sarah based it on a real story.
  • Goodbye, Cruel World!: 4.48 Psychosis. All 72 Minutes of it.
  • Humans Are Bastards: The darkest side of human nature is presented in all of her plays.
  • The Insomniac: The title 4.48 Psychosis was taken from the fact Sarah always awoke at that time in her depressed state.
  • Minimalism: Most of the plays are set in one room, if there is a setting, her last plays are up to interptation,the most challenging play is Cleansed where flowers grow from the set and rats carrying away limbs.
  • Minimalist Cast: There is less than 10 cast members in most of the plays and in 4.48 Psychosis there isn't even a cast list.
  • Missing Episode: Before Blasted Sarah also wrote three one women plays 'Comic Monologue', 'What She Said' and 'Starved', they are in a University Archive but they aren't even allowed to be quoted but they are allowed to be read.
    • Also she edited all her plays up to her death, so the Blasted that opened in 1995 might be different to the one in book form.
    • Sarah was also against her plays being broadcasted on Radio or Television, believing that stage was the only place to leave a impression.
  • Mohs Scale of Violence Hardness: Phaedra's Love at Level 9note , Blastednote  and Cleansednote  at Level 10.
  • Nice Guy: Despite her dark subject matter, Sarah as a person was as a good friend to those that knew her.
  • The Nothing After Death: Sarah rejected religion after her childhood, Blasted has Ian continually says to Cate that there's nothing after death. However after dying himself, a drop of rain brings him back to life.
  • No Name Given: While there is the nameless Solider in Blasted, then there is a nameless woman in Cleansed, then Crave the characters are reduced to single letters and 4.48 Psychosis there's no characters at all.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Ian is racist, insults the disabled and everything wrong he does. Then he rapes Cate who is everything his opposite, but boy does he get his comeuppances and he ends the play as a helpless man. Then there the skinhead Billy who is the main character in Skin, his worst act is spitting a half chewed banana at a Black man then beating another with a brick all to the beat of a toiling bell.
  • Rape as Drama: Blasted has two Ian does it to Cate then The Solider does it to Ian the later is seen.
    • Also Phaedra's Love and it drives this retelling of the play.
  • Sexual Karma: Very much so in Blasted, Phaedra's Love and Cleansed plus Skin.
  • Squick: There's too much to talk about here. Look at the Mohs Scale above for details.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Ian in Blasted might be a scumbag but he regrets his behaviour saying that he has a son but he has disowned him and the sad side comes for good post eyeball. Also the characters in Crave and 4.48 Psychosis seem to use their behaviour as a deference.
  • Straw Critic: When Blasted opened the Critics were highly negative, Jack Tinker's review was highly harsh refusing to believe that there was anything redeemable in it's violent content note  However Michael Billington who also wrote such a review, revisited the play and even wrote a letter to Sarah before her death to say sorry.
  • Vindicated by History: When Blasted opened the critics focused on the twisted mind of Sarah with no focus on the message that she was trying to present. When it received it's revival post Sarah's death, one of the original critics saw it again and his review was an apology to Sarah.
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