‘Crave’ by Sarah Kane

I read a lot of plays. Most of them are under 10,000 words but plays can be expensive to buy. And expensive to see. And really frustrating in the fact that they appeal to a certain section of society. Why go to the theatre if it is exclusive and expensive and doesn’t speak to you or your life? (In this country anyway). And even though this is meant to be an anthology about short stories Sarah Kane is a writer that broke form. An uncompromising writer who could turn a phrase or a word on her little finger. A writer that I feel is missed in the theatrical landscape. I was doing a writers’ group as part of Paines Plough, in 1997. Sarah Kane was leading the group. Even though she was ill towards the end of it, her work was inspired. Crave was her piece that shows the most leaning to prose. 4.48 Psychosis is more disparate – statemented, bleak. Crave shows more possibility in the power of hope and the energy of love and adoration. It’s the naivety that I relish in some of these passages, made even more heartfelt because of her demise:And wander the city thinking its empty without you and want what you want and think I’m losing myself but know I’m safe with you and tell you the worst of me and try to give you the best of me.Kane committed suicide in 1999. I went to her memorial service in the West End, where Harold Pinter spoke. It was shortly after my brother’s suicide and marked me indelibly. I am often tempted out by new productions – Katie Mitchell’s version of Cleansed at The National (tickets quite expensive). But it’s the energy of Kane’s writing that I can revisit time over on the page.

First performed in August, 1998 by Paines Plough. Published by Methuen

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