Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

14 October 2005


I guess I should thank Sarah Kane, because I feel like she has given me back something of a dialogue that I can have about theatre. After having such a strong reaction to the completely-in-French production of her 4.48 Psychosis, I've picked up her Complete Plays and been reading them. I've read three now this week and will read the other two in the next couple of days.
Now, I consider 4.48 Psychosis to be a good play. I didn't particularly care for Blasted or Phaedra's Love, as you can read here. But today at lunch I read her third play, Cleansed and boy, did I have a strong reaction to it. I haven't felt this strongly about a piece of theatre in a long long time.

Repulsed is probably the best word for it. I found Cleansed to be utterly revolting, indescribably disgusting and gratuitously violent. I am so completely turned off by this play that, though I obviously find it challenging, I won't recommend that any of you read it. Spare yourselves the images and sentiments delivered in this play. Honestly, you'll be doing yourself a favor by skipping this one. I could begin to describe the depravity that this play contains, but suffice it to say that the show is incredibly and graphically violent--unstageably violent, even--and that's before a field of daffodils sprouts up from the stage floor.