Sarah Kane was the daughter of Peter and Janine Kane, both of whom were English journalists. Peter was a reporter for London’s Daily Mirror, and the family members, for a short time during Kane’s teenage years, became fervent born-again Christians. Kane renounced her Christianity in her early twenties but admitted that the violent imagery she found in the Bible inspired her work as a playwright. Kane joined local drama groups as a teenager and directed plays by William Shakespeare and Anton Chekhov. For a time, she skipped school altogether to work as an assistant director for a production at a school in London’s Soho district.
Kane attended the University of Bristol, acting in school plays and directing a number of student productions, including Shakespeare’s Macbeth (pr. 1606) and Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls (pr., pb. 1982). After graduating with top honors in drama, she enrolled at the University of Birmingham, where she received her M.A. degree. While at school, Kane gained a reputation for nightclubbing and having affairs with women, though her work does not contain noticeable lesbian themes.
In 1996, her first full-length play, Sick, composed of three monologues (Comic Monologue, Starved, and What She Said) was performed at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland. However, it was her play Blasted, which she had written in 1994 while at Birmingham University and which was presented at the students’ end-of-year show, that brought Kane to the forefront of the New Wave theater scene.
The first professional production of Blasted opened at London’s Royal Court Theatre in January, 1995, in a secondary theater that held sixty-two seats, forty-five of which were occupied by critics. No more than a...
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