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A: Sarah Kane Pf: 1995, London Pb: 1995; rev. 2000 G: Drama in 5 scenes S: Expensive hotel room in Leeds C: 2m, 1fIan Jones is an angry, racist, divorced 45-year-old journalist. He drinks heavily, has a diseased lung, carries a gun, and is clearly nervous. He has invited Cate, a former girlfriend of 21, prone to fainting fits, to spend the night with him in a hotel. She is reluctant to have sex with him, so he gets her to masturbate him. The following morning, Ian has obviously forced himself on Cate. Despite being angry with him, she fellates him while he talks of his work as an undercover government agent. Cate goes to the bathroom and makes her escape. A Soldier forces his way in, disarms Ian, urinates on the bed, and announces that it is ‘Our town now’. The hotel is blasted by a mortar bomb. The soldier reveals that his girlfriend was raped and murdered in an atrocity. He rapes Ian, then sucks out his eyeballs and eats them. A while later, the Soldier has shot himself, and Cate returns holding a baby girl she has been given by a desperate woman in the town. Ian tries to shoot himself, but Cate has emptied the ammunition from the revolver. When she discovers that the baby has died, Ian comments: ‘Lucky bastard’. Cate buries the baby under the floorboards and goes off to get food from the soldiers. Ian masturbates, tries to strangle himself, weeps, laughs, hugs the dead Soldier, digs out the baby's body, eats it, and lies down under the floor to die. Cate returns with food, bleeding from being raped, and feeds Ian in his hole.

A: Sarah Kane Pf: 1995, London Pb: 1995; rev. 2000 G: Drama in 5 scenes S: Expensive hotel room in Leeds C: 2m, 1f

This excessively bleak tale became notorious as the most extreme example of ‘Inyerface’ drama of the 1990s, all the more shocking because it was written by a woman (who, perhaps not altogether unpredictably, committed suicide four years later). In a world where there is ‘No God. No Father Christmas. …No fucking nothing’, any moment of tenderness, like that of Cate's burial of the baby, has a powerful redemptive force.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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