4.48 Psychosis (Modern Plays)
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4.48 Psychosis sees the ultimate narrowing of Sarah Kane's focus in her work. The struggle of the self to remain intact has moved in her work from civil war, into the family, into the couple, into the individual, and finally into the theatre of phychosis: the mind itself. This play was written in 1999 shortly before the playwright took her own life at age 28. On the page, the piece looks like a poem. No characters are named, and even their number is unspecified. It could be a journey through one person's mind, or an interview between a doctor and his patient.
–No? –No. I'm depressed. Depression is anger. It's what you did, who was there and who you're blaming. –And who are you blaming? –Myself. Body and soul can never be married I need to become who I already am and will bellow forever at this incongruity which has committed me to hell Insoluble hoping cannot uphold me I will drown in dysphoria in the cold black pond of my self the pit of my immaterial mind How can I return to form now my formal thought has gone? Not a life that I could countenance.
They will love me for that which destroys me the sword in my dreams the dust of my thoughts the sickness that breeds in the folds of my mind 8 SARAH KANE 4.48 PSYCHOSIS 9 Every compliment takes a piece of my soul An expressionist nag Stalling between two fools They know nothing – I have always walked free Last in a long line of literary kleptomaniacs (a time honoured tradition) Theft is the holy act On a twisted path to expression A glut of exclamation marks spells impending nervous
for making me feel shit about myself, fuck you for bleeding the fucking love and life out of me, fuck my father for fucking up my life for good and fuck my mother for not leaving him, but most of all, fuck you God for making me love a person who does not exist, FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU. –Oh dear, what's happened to your arm? –I cut it. –That's a very immature, attention seeking thing to do. Did it give you relief? –No. –Did it relieve the tension? 10 SARAH KANE 4.48 PSYCHOSIS –No. –Did it
Discontinued following rash. Patient attempted to leave hospital against medical advice. Restrained by three male nurses twice her size. Patient threatening and uncooperative. Paranoid thoughts – believes hospital staff are attempting to poison her. Melleril, 50mg. Co-operative. Lofepramine, 70mg, increased to 140mg, then 210mg. Weight gain 12kgs. Short term memory loss. No other reaction. SARAH KANE 4.48 PSYCHOSIS 17 Argument with junior doctor whom she accused of treachery after which she
on the throat CUT HERE DON'T LET THIS KILL ME THIS WILL KILL ME AND CRUSH ME AND SEND ME TO HELL I beg you to save me from this madness that eats me a sub-intentional death SARAH KANE 4.48 PSYCHOSIS 19 I thought I should never speak again but now I know there is something blacker than desire perhaps it will save me perhaps it will kill me a dismal whistle that is the cry of heartbreak around the hellish bowl at the ceiling of my mind a blanket of roaches cease this war My legs are empty