Love Me or Kill Me: The Predominance of Love over Violence in Cleansed and Crave by Sarah Kane

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Eliot at his peak as much as Shakespeare's "blasted heath. Her work--which is the main subject of the critical study Love me or Kill Me: Sarah Kane and the Theatre of Extremes by Graham Saunders, and a major subject in Aleks Sierz's book In-Yer-Face Theatre: British Drama Today --seeks to uproot drama from its predominant Victorian and post-Victorian mode of representational comfort and psychological acuity, returning it to the presentational, irrational, blood sport-infused drama of the late Greeks and Romans.

The audience in Kane's plays endures, suffers, and is shocked, horrified and disturbed by the writer's visions. They are asked to be forcible witnesses to acts of astonishing violence and rage in almost Grand Guignol extremity. While Psychosis could be seen as a comparatively serene play in Kane's oeuvre, in that the physical violence is only described and not seen and the play's motion is almost exclusively internal, it does demand of an audience an uncompromising relationship to its subject.

Liminal Fictions in Postmodern Culture

Mental illness is not held up for view as a case study here; the audience is rather asked to enter the state of illness: to experience with artful distance the pain of thoughts fractured, seemingly divorced from the self. This is a testament to Kane's talent and skill as a writer and poet. Broken-ness is her theme and, as in her other works, it serves as both a means to explore the human condition and an end.

This production of Psychosis may be seen by some as definitive, since it was directed by Kane's close collaborator James Macdonald, a brilliant director whose work will be seen again in New York this season when Caryl Churchill's A Number opens at New York Theatre Workshop. But it is only one version of the play. It is important to note this because the text is extremely open and can offer significantly variant stagings. On the page, no characters are named or specified in number, age, or gender, and no physical actions or stage descriptions are delineated.

The play reads as poem, and is not even expressly or conventionally dramatic. It is, however, a piece for voice and space and for a voice or voices in space across a span of time. Macdonald's extraordinarily sensitive staging does not try to diminish the possibilities of multiple readings.


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Clear choices are made, though, about the use of video and lighting and spatial composition. Figures are often seen in half-shadow, and are exposed in white light at contrasting emotional moments.

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A long sequence in the middle is staged in a bluish hospital haze of incessant, eerie somnambulance. Another sequence is played out against loops of video static that reflect the figures' repetitive loops of thought and feeling. The three actors perform with humility, precision, and emotional dexterity. One sequence of particular note places the "patient" voice of actor Marin Ireland, one of the America's best and brightest young stage actors, in a prolonged interview scenario with the "doctor" voice of Jason Hughes wherein she forces herself to stifle vocally and physically the very act of crying.

The sequence, lit as if in movie close-up, demands that the actor both express and illustrate clinically the movement of crying in the body, while at the same time inhabiting the emotions associated with anguish. It's a wrenching sequence intensified by the utter simplicity of the staging and the lack of sentimentality with which both the action and text are delivered. Kane's suicide in has marked the reading of her works significantly over the last few years. A cult of death is forming around her work, as it has around other writers like Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton.

There is an uneasy reverence with which Kane's work is received now, and I think it mars the engagement necessary for an audience to fully experience it. Kane invites death into her plays, and wrestles with it time and again. Hers is a voice of rage in the darkest of nights. Yet it would be more than a shame for her work to be viewed only through the lens of suicide, mental illness, and artistic martyrdom. It is almost as if we are imposing a somewhat hazy Werther-like Romantic filter upon Kane, when her work at its best is frankly carnal, immediate, and un-romantic.

The London based transnational was founded in Liverpool by Henry Tate a wealthy nineteenth century entrepreneur and philanthropist, sixty five years after Britain abandoned the Slave Trade. It operates in five continents and over fifty countries and first broke into the profitably protected North American sugar market with a leveraged buy out of the Decatur based corn syrup producer A. Staley in The company have manifestly undergone a corporate transplant from the paternalistic days of yore.

December 2nd was the former Tates employees last supper and the sadness of the occasion was visibly reflected in the comments made to local reporters.

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Part of the identity legacy of Henry Tate the former grocer and populariser of sugar cubes is not just the company that bears his name but impressive artefacts of his private philanthropy. In London he financed an impressive public library in Brixton and more famously inspired the Tate Gallery and Tate Modern which interpelate his donations to the arts and culture.

In the absence of ghostly interviewing techniques I can only hazard the suggestion that the meanness of spirit which resulted in the junking of Christmas in his former sugar capital, and recent trade union bashing in the economic capital of the free world, has caused the creator of this formidable sugar dynasty to turn in his grave. Five hundred yards up from the impressive Liverpool waterfront is the splendid town hall whose corridors are still adorned by busts of blackamoors and elephants.

It was built in the late eighteenth century when powerful slave trade interests were coming up against popular agitation to end the evil trade. They will experience a powerful evocation of that infamous trade by visiting the Transatlantic Slave Gallery down at the Albert Dock, adjacent to the Museum of Liverpool Life and the Tate Gallery.

Planters in the AnteBellum South once used the threat of deportation to Cuba as an instrument for disciplining their slaves and although to some it may appear hyperbolic, one of the course themes at the Summer School was influenced by a saying used by planters in Cuba which almost transcends metaphor and figurative language. Nevertheless it is Third world producers who are more systematically and regularly short changed.

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The city which was renowned for the Merseybeat in the 60s was the victim of the sugar beet and a soulless global corporation with no apparent local loyalties. The community blight and lengthening dole queue in Liverpool was not unrelated to the riots and disturbances a few months later but even this was eclipsed by the exacerbation of abject poverty and hunger in the Third World cane producing countries.

The World Development Movement presciently summed up what is still very much the issue today. What a chastening reminder this ought to be of how a unique commodity demands more than just history lessons.

Who does really know about the chicaneries of the Fanjuls outside of this crazy world of sucrose? Yes the very sad news has been relayed to me that Jim Smith one of the stars of our Boys and Girls from the Whitestuff film has passed away. He was years old…He went very peacefully. The funeral is taking place on Tuesday 12th March at 1.

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Great man and great storyteller. TWO incontrovertible facts have shaped my obviously partisan opinions as to why the comically misnamed Liverpool Love Lane Sugar refinery was closed down at the end of the 90 day redundancy notice period. The result was that a prominent Liverpool Landmark was shut down on April 22nd That attention grabbing detail is verified by a document from the Planning Officer of the City Council, issued a few days after the 90 day redundancy notices had been issued and in the records that Albert and John gave to the Museum.

Starting with a conclusion was not the method of the company historian, J.


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I fundamentally disagree with that. It certainly benefited more from regional aid than any other company and of course after that was exhausted it had run! Transactions include the trade of supplies or labor between departments and are always influenced by lower cost tax regimes. Under him a subsidiary Albion Limited was established in Bermuda to take charge of trading, broking and shipping activities.

These were ships that may have been financed from the Bermuda subsidiary to fund another hole in the Bermuda Triangle of British capitalism. When the Archies sang Sugar, Sugar, back in , they would not have imagined that the simple, pimp like carbohydrate saturating food and drinks as well as the lexicon of love, was the most intensely political and complex of all commonly traded commodities! Sugar, Sugar has always been intensely political and unlike Black gold, White Gold is in its seventh century of global expansion and you can not only ingest it but in Brazil they use it to provide the Tony the Tiger in their alcool tanks!

Just have a look at that letter in the blog summary! Cold business logic was matched by the weather outside on Thursday, December 2nd.

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Even wrapped up in sugar-coated management rhetoric the letter announcing their last Tango on Lime St. Definitely not on Merseyside! This bitter sweet story had some local but no national impact at all. Just look at this from December 3rd Written by Ron Noon at on Wednesday, November 07th In the Sixties, the Merseybeat sound conquered the musical world and for fifty one weeks between April and May there would be a recording by a Liverpudlian artist at Number 1 in the charts, one understandable reason why we played a pivotal part in the so called cultural revolution that liberated that decade.

Despite the Beatles the basic economic fact was that unemployment in the musical capital of the world was twice the British national average. Between and no less than factories in Liverpool closed or moved elsewhere, 40, jobs were lost and between and employment in the city fell by 33 per cent.

By the early s most of the dock system had been changed and converted to other uses. The port that had created [modern] Liverpool had dwindled to insignificance and left the city with huge economic and political problems. Not all newspapers indulged in the scapegoating. In a collaborative and interdisciplinary project involving members of the University of Liverpool and the then Liverpool Polytechnic wrote and published…Merseyside in Crisis.

I wonder whether the character of George Malone was? The actor that the scouse Dickens used to play George Malone was Peter Kerrigan, a former Liverpool docker who played with pathos and grit the dying docker who ended up on the Blackstuff tarmac , because of victimisation for his socialist beliefs.

George stood for his class and the dignity of labour refusing to give up on those collective hopes and dreams in a remarkable speech delivered as he is being pushed by Chrissie in a wheelchair ride through the then derelict and decaying, now magnificently refurbished, Albert Dock.