So, let’s see where we should begin talking about "Phaedra’s Love," the shocking play by British playwright Sarah Kane, which the World Stage Theatre Company opened Friday night at an empty store space at Grand Avenue Mall.
Let’s start with the fact that Kane, who committed suicide in 1999 at 28, killed herself in a hospital where she was being treated for depression. She was then, and even still now, regarded as "L’enfant terrible" of the world of British theater. She wrote this play as a modern reworking of Seneca's ancient story "Phaedra."
So, we’ve got that out of the way. Next let’s look at the seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, laziness, wrath, envy and pride. This play has six of the seven, with envy somehow getting a pass.
But it’s not just those sins that make up the play. We also have incest, oral sex, rape, masturbation, mutilation, mob violence, suicide (twice) and even a little bit of masochism. We also hear almost every swear word on the list of things you shouldn’t say in mixed company.
Sounds like your basic Friday night at the theater, huh?
This is the story of Phaedra, the second wife of Theseus. Strophe is her daughter, a princess; Hippolytus is his son, a prince.
Phaedra is in love with her stepson, who is a lazy sloth for whom the only joys seem to be television, food, masturbation and a remote controlled truck. Strophe warns her mother not to get involved with her stepson, and she knows whereof she speaks, since she also had sex with him. She also had sex with her stepfather.
Phaedra finally hooks up with Hippolytus with a scene of simulated (I’m sure) oral sex. Afterward, he tells her that he doesn’t love her at all and that her husband slept with her daughter on their wedding night. Distressed, Phaedra kills herself, leaving a note that claims Hippolytus raped her. He leaves the palace and finds a place with a priest who ends up giving oral sex (simulated, I’m also sure) to Hippolytus.
We then move t…Read more...