by Sarah M. Chichester · August 19, 2014
Sarah Kane is a playwright known for her use of abstract, poetic, and non-linear structure. While her work usually is on the violent side, Crave, while still very dark, focuses more on the ideas and thoughts of other types of pain in relation to sex and addiction.
Being someone that's very familiar with her work, I must say that this production of Crave is the most unique I've seen yet. Almost all of the dialogue is played as a sound recording instead of spoken outloud. With no light cues what-so-ever, the only light that was ever on stage was from projections and video, used to visually add to the abstract nature of the play. Actors on stage (Dei Xhrist and Susan Pepperman) were only seen in silhouette, as an addition to keeping things abstract, and were more as performance artists in support of the high technical aspects.
The recorded lines were all said in a flat, robotic tone. Not because these were "bad actors" but to emphasize how the themes in the script aren't taken seriously enough. It was quite an intriguing concept for the director (Gregory Kowalski) to come up with.
The technical elements in this production were unlike anything I've ever seen before. The high quality was absolutely fantastically done. My personal favorite element of this was in the beginning; before anything would change on the projection screen image wise, a performer would shine a flashlight over the screen, then once it was off the image would have appeared to be altered subtly more and more each time it was done.
I'm sure a large reason for this unique vision of this play is that the entire team (actors included) aren't coming from a performance background, but from a visual arts and media background. I love seeing artists from another medium both joining our world and mixing their background into it. It really made me think about how theatre has such a broard meaning. A fascinating experience overall.
My one advisory note would be there is on stage nudity in this piece.