August 31, 2018
Artist provocateur Sarah Kane’s polarising play has been described as being one of the more shocking and provocative ones.
Dysfunctional, alcohol addled tabloid journalist meets trouble young woman in Leeds, England. The act of seduction goes awry, gets out of hand and we are catapulted into a war torn environment where the arrival of soldier escalates brutal events, which captures the three individuals in the confines of their hotel room bringing their inner and outer demons to live.
In essence, a musing on the lower regions of torture, human suffering, pain, points of no return and atonement.
With the production feeling borderline claustrophobic and devoid of showy elements the cast, comprised of Fayssal Bazzi, Eloise Mignon and David Woods and directed by Anne-Louise Sarks, infuse life into a play by keeping the focus on the ensemble that has been critizised for being overly reliant on shock value depictions of sex and violence by stripping it back to its bare bones.
In no uncertain terms, Blasted is essentially a war story boxed in a hotel room highlighting the interrelations between unrelenting domestic physical and psychological violence and the madness of war.
The audience becomes the voyeur, being confronted with graphic depictions of rape, violence and cannibalism on end - depictions of what populates the front pages of our newspapers every day. Fiction and dystopia that have long become reality.
Twenty-three years after it was first conceived and debated in heated manner, literally all facets of what Sarah Kane might have endeavoured to portray as prophetic in the mid-1990s are now commonplace in our mainstream culture, no matter how grotesque the violence appears to be.
The sujets of Blasted are much closer to home – literally and metaphorically – than most would want to admit.
While the Malthouse Theatre incarnation of Blasted has elements that would fit the Greek Tradition of catharsis, there is an additional contemporary dimension added, one that is all the more depressing because it resembles reality.
The impact of Blasted, a play that has over twenty-three years morphed from fiction to reality, did not leave behind an audience that was shocked anymore but one provoked to think.