Performance Strategies Essay

922 words - 4 pages

Sarah Kane's Blasted is a notorious piece of 'In-yer-face’ theatre demonstrating themes and content that are often considered taboo and controversial. These themes consist of brutality, pain, desire and both psychological and physical torture and violence involving humanity. Not only are these themes illustrated through techniques relevant to in-yer-face theatre but also Kane has managed to borrow techniques from post dramatic theatre in order to demonstrate her content to both spectators and readers.

In-Yer-Face theatre attempted to break away from the conventions of naturalistic theatre. Sarah Kane's controversial themes and shocking natures to her play, Blasted, seemed to go hand in hand with this bolder type of theatre as it engages an audience used to conventional dramatic theatre. Alex Sierz mentioned that this type of theatre “is a theatre of sensation: it jolts both actors and spectators out of conventional responses, touching nerves and provoking alarm”. This is specifically important as a way of not only provoking a reaction to the play but also a reaction to wider, real world political and cultural issues. Especially when considering that Blasted was written as a response to the Bosnian War.

Ayoub Dabiri says “Kane manages to bridge the distance between Britain and Bosnia by making viewers follow the parallels of war in Bosnia and the violent actions of the play and then encourages them to notice the possibility of the same violent conditions in Britain” This therefore highlights a main aim in which dramatic strategies have been used to illuminate. In order for Kane to express her themes and initial ideas of war to challenge and provoke the audience into a state of thought she employs not only the techniques of In-Yer-Face theatre but also borrows strategies from post dramatic theatre.

The structure of Blasted is evidence of this as post dramatic theatre tends to reject a plot with a beginning, middle and end of well-made plays. Kane’s structure of the play draws attention to this whilst emphasising her focus on war.

The play is structured in a way where the first half takes on a naturalistic form but it purposely uses the technique of disruption, in this case by a bomb (with the metaphorically title of Blasted taking on a physical form) and the entrance of the soldier. This extreme transition was part of a structured plan in order to transport the audience or reader from a hotel in Leeds to a chaotic world that one can identify parallels between, as previously mentioned by Dabiri.

This radical shift in structure can be an effective use of ‘In-Yer-Face’ theatre when focusing on the plays content as it dynamically grasps the attention of those watching or reading....

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