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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Sarah Kane’s play at Teatro da Trindade exposes the spectrum of violence amplified by war – Vida

Everything is played out between three characters, in the intimacy of a hotel room, first through Ian, a 40-year-old journalist, “alcoholic, sick, racist, misogynistic and homophobic”, and Cate, “a bourgeois girl” in her early 20s. years old, “gaga and innocent”, trapped in an “agonizing relationship of psychological, sexual and physical violence”. The arrival of a soldier, at a certain point in the action, imposes an explosion of violence (“Blasted”), imminent from the first moment.

The play was written in 1995 by the British playwright Sarah Kane (1971-1999), with reference to the recent Balkan War (1991-1995), when the conflict was beginning to emerge in Kosovo, in a climate that “could perfectly pass now, with the war in Ukraine”, said director João Telmo to the Lusa agency.

The action takes place far from the combat front, but the war “ends up corrupting” the situation experienced by the couple, exposing “rape and violence, in its broadest spectrum”, underlines the director.

Therefore, João Telmo tried to set the scene “as if it were a non-place”, accentuating “a very aseptic side”, in a space that is completely mirrored, with silver decorations, in order to be able to be located “anywhere in the world” , at any time.

The use of mirrors, on three sides of the stage and on the floor, allows the director to accentuate “a very ‘voyeuristic’ side”, exposing the actors to 360 degrees and accentuating the deformed perspective of the figures.

The dialogues between Ian and Cate are “labyrinthine, evil and toxic”, classifies João Telmo.

At one point, a soldier bursts into the room. Cate manages to escape, but the soldier ends up “psychologically and sexually taking possession of Ian”, while talking about the “atrocities he carried out and witnessed since the outbreak of war, until the moment when a bomb explodes, leaving the hotel room in ruins ”, describes the director.

“Ruínas” was the title with which Artistas Unidos premiered the play, in October 2000, at Espaço A Capital/Teatro Paulo Claro, in Lisbon, staged by Jorge Silva Melo and Paulo Claro, after a first public reading, in May of that year.

“Violence breeds violence”, wrote the company founded by Silva Melo at the presentation of the Portuguese premiere of the work. “In a wild world […]the work of Sarah Kane is an open wound”.

João Telmo starts from the same translation by Pedro Marques, to bring “Blasted” back to the scene.

Sarah Kane’s first play, written while still studying at the University of Birmingham with playwright David Edgar, “Blasted” premiered in January 1995 at the Royal Court Theater in London.

At the time, the work was criticized for its violent content. Its importance, however, was later recognized as a denunciation of violence itself in a broader spectrum, having been classified by the British newspaper The Independent as “a canonical work” and “one of the 40 best plays ever”, along with texts by authors like Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett, Luigi Pirandello, Eugene O’Neill, not forgetting Anton Chekhov, Shakespeare, Euripides and Sophocles.

“Kane’s writing has a horribly lively energy, and the atrocities it depressingly depicts take on a new resonance for each generation that discovers them.” in October last year.

“The Complete Theater of Sarah Kane” is published in Portugal, in a volume edited by Campo das Letras in 2004.

“Blasted”, staged by João Telmo, who also designed the costumes, has interpretations by Bernardo Lobo Faria, Graciano Dias and Margarida Bakker, set design by Anto´nio MV, light design by Ricardo Campos and original music and sound design by Carlos Morgado .

The play will be on stage at Teatro da Trindade from March 9th to April 23rd, with sessions from Wednesday to Sunday, at 7 pm. After the performance on March 26, there will be a conversation with the audience.

In May of last year, this staging of “Blasted” had two presentations at the International Festival of Iberian Expression Theater (FITEI), in Porto.

“Blasted”, by João Telmo, is a co-production of Teatro da Trindade INATEL, Nova Companhia and Teatro Municipal do Porto.

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