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Blasted, September 21–October 22

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Blasted, by Sarah Kane, directed by Jon Tracy

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Reviews from Critics

"Impossible to watch, but required viewing"
"With a tightly written, searing, and dramatic text, outstanding, visceral acting, and taut and unshakeable direction by Jon Tracy, this production is grotesque, haunting, and unforgettable."
"Emotionally devastating"
"This trip to the theater goes well beyond escapism; it’s a trip to the front lines."
"[Kane] erases the distance between a bourgeois viewer and a far-off war by bringing the conflict to life on the stage."

Reviews from the Seats

"I loved it. The surreal format of the play kept me wide-eyed and tingling."
"The actors and the set were awesome, and I love the play. I've been hyped to see this for over a year and wasn't disappointed."

"Nothing was held back."
"Brave, honest performances."
"To me, that was punishment, not art."
"It seems wrong to say I loved Blasted."

Sarah Kane: interviewed by Dan Rebellato

(Royal Holloway, University of London) 3 November 1998.

DR: How do you write?

SK: It's different for each thing that I write. And it often depends on what stage I'm at. At first draft stage, I tend to write an awful lot of rubbish very quickly and it has no form at all. Blasted was a very particular journey and I think because it was a first play, I wasn't really aware of what I was doing formally. I mean, I knew what I was doing but I wasn't consciously aware in the way I am now; I mean, within two pages when I started to write Crave I thought: "Ah, I can see what form this is going to be, how interesting." With Blasted, it wasn't until six months after it had closed that I went, "Oh, that's what I was doing."
And I think with Blasted, it was a direct response to the material as it began to happen. I mean, I knew I wanted to write a play about a man and a woman in a hotel room, and that there was a complete power imbalance, which resulted in a rape. And I started writing that and I was writing away and had been doing it for a few days, and I switched on the news one night while I was having a break from writing, and there was a very old woman’s face, a woman of Srebrenica, just weeping and weeping and looking into the camera, and saying: "Please, please, help me, help me. We need the UN to come here and help us. We need someone to do something." And I was sitting there watching and I thought: "No one's going to do anything. How many times have I seen another old woman crying from another town in Bosnia under siege and no one does anything?" And I thought: "This is absolutely terrible, and I'm writing this ridiculous play about two people in a room — what does it matter? What's the point of carrying on?" So this is what I want to write about and yet somehow this story about this man and woman was still attracting me. And I thought: "So what could possibly be the connection between a common rape in a Leeds hotel room and what's happening in Bosnia?" And then suddenly this penny dropped and I thought: "Of course, it's obvious. One is the seed and the other is the tree." And I do think that the seeds of full-scale war can always be found in peacetime civilisation and I think the wall between so-called civilisation and what happened in central Europe is very, very thin and it can get torn down at any time.

Listen to the full interview or read the transcript.

Articles from Previous Productions of Blasted

Marin Ireland and Reed Birney in the Soho Rep production of Blasted. Credit Simon Kane

“Blasted wriggles with metaphor, getting less and less realistic as it goes on. Time collapses, for instance, so that an entire season passes in a moment, and language deteriora​tes…”

War and Sex: Who’s Afraid of Sarah Kane?


Twenty years after its first performance at the Royal Court, Kate Ashfield remembers starring in Blasted. “We sold out and there were queues around the block for returns. It felt like everyone was sitting up in their seats – although people would faint sometimes."


Kate Ashfield on Sarah Kane's Blasted: 'the whole run was charged with energy'

KATE ASHFIELD | The Guardian

Striking stage directions … Pip Donaghy as Ian and Kate Ashfield as Cate in Sarah Kane’s Blasted at the Royal Court in 1995. Photograph: Tristram Kenton

Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998

“I wrote it to tell the truth.”

Disgusting violence? Actually it's quite a peaceful play

DAVID BENEDICT | The Independent

“Blasted is both a response to contemporary reality and an engagement with the history of drama.”


Love me or kill me: Sarah Kane & the theatre of extremes.

GRAHAM SAUNDERS |  University of the West of England, Bristol

“She's really looking at how we treat the person next to us, how do we treat the people who are closest to us. That's really the seed of civil war, of global crises; these international catastrophes really lie in how we treat each other day to day.”


“Almost from the first words… there is an uneasy awareness that this play is not behaving itself… No authorial voice is leading us to safety… The play’s form begins to fragment.”


A sad hurrah

DAVID GRIEG | The Guardian

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