Sarah Kane’s Blasted might be the most unproduceable play ever written. It’s brash, violent, sexist and brutal – and that’s just the first 15 minutes. Never before produced in Windsor, and only produced a handful of times in Canada since it was written in 1995, Blasted is a wakeup for the senses like the Rose City has never seen before.
Post Productions opened the show on October 1 for a three weekend stint at The Shadowbox Theatre that ends on October 16. The buzz around it should make it a little harder than usual to get tickets as the performances go on.
Since her suicide in 1999, Kane left behind five plays and one short film, all gaining further reverence posthumously. Blasted was her first production and was ripped to shreds by the British media when it opened more than 25 years ago. And in some ways, things haven’t changed. It’s actually impossible to give a production laced with rape scenes, masturbation, suicide and cannibalism a purely positive review. My morals can’t fathom calling it a masterpiece, but my senses are busting at the seams to scream at the top of my lungs.
It is by no sense of the imagination an enjoyable show, because one should not “enjoy” this type of content, but it is one hell of an experience that can’t be missed. When it’s all over you’re going to feel something – whether it’s disgust, horror, empathy, sorrow, shock or even arousal, you’ll feel it, and it will sit with you for days.
The story centers around Ian (Michael K. Potter) and Cate (Julia Pastorius), who enter a hotel room years after the end of an affair. As war rages outside, Ian tries to convince Cate to have sex with him, which results in a rape. The next morning, a rebel soldier (Nikolas Prsa) breaks into their room and it just gets worse from then on in, once again resulting in a rape.
It’s an intense trip brought to life by Potter, who lost both his legs to disease over the last few years. Right from the start, he gives his entire being to the role. He bears his soul, his body and both his physical and emotional weaknesses like never before. It’s the most physical role he’s ever done, performing the last bit of it completely nude, without his prosthetic legs, crawling around the stage in theatrical agony – making his way to the far end of the stage to perform an act of cannibalism. I have never seen anything like that in my entire life and I probably never will again.
Earlier this month, Potter announced on his Facebook page that this will be his final on stage appearance and he wanted to end with something that challenged his skills, fears and emotions all in one show. Not only has he challenged his very being with this show, but with it, he challenges the audience to test their own limits, morals and emotions along with him. In my case, Potter is the winner in all those categories hands down – with Blasted, he is more in tune with his fears and emotions than I will ever be.
Potter is joined by Pastorius for most of the show. She comes across as a very timid and frail young woman, but when given the chance, she’ll bite deep into the head of a penis with little care. And that’s just part of the emotional roller coaster she takes the audience on. To her credit, Pastorius has the most amazing scream – it reminds me of the legendary Fay Wray’s wails from the original 1933 King Kong movie.
Lastly, Prsa makes the shortest appearance of the three. The soldier breaks in, rapes Ian in a very graphic and very naked rape scene and aside from adding to the war angle of the show, that’s about it. Prsa has a certain swagger when it comes to quirky and disturbed characters that can’t be denied.
The set is cleverly designed to offer the romance of a fancy hotel room in the first act to a war-torn disaster in the second act, with a lot of attention to detail every step of the way.
It’s a disturbing show with three very hurt and damaged individuals who fight their way through their own misery in their own unique and disconcerting ways.
Blasted is not for everybody and it will never go down as the most enjoyable show Post has ever staged, but it may very well be the most challenging, distressing and brutal thing they’ll ever do. And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.
Blasted runs for six more shows – October 7,8,9 and 14, 15, 16 at The Shadowbox Theatre. Tickets are $25 and must be purchased online at postproductionswindsor.ca.