Fancasting British Literature: Sarah Kane’s Blasted


Blasted was Kane’s debut play. Set in an upmarket hotel room in Leeds (England), the play is about the violence that befalls a dying journalist and his rampant rape of Cate, a mentally troubled young woman suffering from fits. Its exploration of domestic violence is broadened into a bloody spectacle when the room is moulded into a warzone.
Main themes: war, sexual violence, race, gender, society


Ironically, critics blasted this play at its first outing at the Royal Court in 1995. The criticism towards it makes reviews for films like Batman V Superman, Ghostbusters (2016) and The Emoji Movie look pleasant.
Respected newspapers, television shows and anyone else with an opinion took pleasure in tearing it to shreds:
“This disgusting feast of filth” – Daily Mail
“A sordid little travesty of a play”The Spectator.
“A gratuitous welter of carnage” – The Telegraph
Imagine if the same criticism occurred today but with social media. Social media changed the game for reviews, especially Twitter. With something like this, Twitter would have a field day!
In essence, the response to this play was like throwing a fifty-inch television from a hotel window that’s twenty stories from the ground.

My Cast

Main Characters

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Director: Ben Wheatley (Free Fire)

Screenwriter: Ben Wheatley & Amy Jump (Sightseers)

Producer: Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz)

Cinematographer: Laurie Rose (Kill List)

Supporting Characters

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Musical Score: Dan Jones (Lady Macbeth)

Running Time: 90 mins

Distributor: Film4

Certificate: 18

After Sarah Kane

After the fact, now over twenty years later, Sarah Kane’s Blasted is now seen in a more favourable light. It’s a play that changed the landscape for theatre and is now being taught to students up and down the United Kingdom.
It continues to be on the BA Creative Writing syllabus in Britain, and used when discussing gender (both male and female) and Marxism. Let’s not forget to mention history. The history of humanity is the history of war. And Blasted is an analysis of humanity, through horror.
Though respected abroad, she remained a misunderstood playwright in Britain. The dust began to settle with Crave in 1998. But with her sudden death, her work began to become target practice for journalists and others to probe and speculate about her personal life.
Despite the sheering reception at home, Sarah Kane was given a home in European theatre. Blasted was soon seen as one of the most important British plays of the 1990s. Her plays were produced throughout the Continent. She then commited suicide in February 1999 at twenty-eight years old.

“I’m simply trying to tell the truth about human behaviour as I see it”

Sarah Kane