Sarah Kane’s “Blasted” has been called a “disgusting feast of filth,” and justifiably so. The “multi-sensorial nightmare” of rape, cannibalism, war, and suicide is currently in its premiere New England run at the Loeb Mainstage until April 12. The Roving Reporter stopped by to talk with the cast and director about their fun-filled performance.
Catrin M. Lloyd-Bollard ’08
RR: What’s your role in the production?
CLB: I’m directing it.
RR: Why’d you decide to direct “Blasted”?
CLB: It’s been one of my favorite plays for about four years now, and I’m also writing my senior thesis about it. I decided to do a double thesis and direct a play as well as writing.
RR: Your thesis wasn’t enough work?
CLB: Well, it certainly would have been enough on its own. But this was much more fun than writing that anyway.
RR: Do you have a favorite part of the play?
CLB: One of my favorites is when the soldier first enters. So much comes out of nowhere, and I think we’ve done a good job with the technical aspects, with video and lighting. I don’t even know how to describe it. It goes into slow motion. I really enjoy watching that every time.
RR: What was the biggest challenge you encountered while directing the play?
CLB: The whole play in and of itself is one gigantic challenge. I think that appealed to a lot of the people working on it. But the baby-eating and the eye-sucking and -eating were particularly challenging to figure out how to do. We didn’t quite decide until the day before opening.
RR: Cool. What do you think babies taste like?
CLB: Um, probably like white bread and ketchup.
RR: Sounds delicious.
Nick J. O’Donovan
RR: So tell me who you play in “Blasted.”
NJO: I play Ian. He’s a journalist and member of some shady organization or other. He’s racist, homophobic, generally unpleasant, and not the kind of person you’d want to meet, let alone be stuck in a hotel room with.
RR: Does anyone you know inspire you to act out those characteristics?
NO: Fortunately, I’ve never met anyone Jas horrible as Ian. He’s the sort of person who says the things he says off the cuff. He’s the sort of person whose instinctive response to anything is to say something nasty and racist and horrible and disgusting and threatening and menacing. So really there’s no template for it other than the character. He’s the sort of person who won’t even think about chucking out the n-word, let alone f- and c-words.
RR: So this is actually a British play and you’re from the UK. Did that give you any advantage while acting in this?
NJO: It made the accent easier, although some of my friends saw it the other night and they heard someone after the show commenting, “Do you reckon that guy’s really English?” So I guess I can’t even do my own accent correctly. But also there are a lot of British phrases he uses, especially in terms of racial epithets.
RR: What’s your favorite scene in the play?
NJO: [Laughs] I’m not sure favorite’s the right word for any of them. They’re all sort of unpleasant really.
RR: Well, what’s the most memorable?
NJO: I mean, being raped by Dan [R. Pecci ’09] is generally quite memorable. But the scenes are all very tense and I’d be hard-picked to find a moment of highest intensity, and I’d be incredibly reluctant to pick anything as “favorite.” Favorite and enjoyment and those kind of words aren’t quite right. Oh, also, one thing I find implausible about this character is his speedy recovery from sexual encounters. I mean, he’s supposed to be forty-something and with a lung removed, and he has a recovery time of five minutes.
Dan R. Pecci ’09
RR: Who do you play in “Blasted”?
DRP: I play the soldier.
RR: What’s your relationship with the other characters?
DRP: I sort of come in about three-quarters into the play and bring war into the room. I never really interact with Olga [I. Zhulina ’09, another cast member]. It’s really just between Nick’s character and I. It’s unclear whether I’m a real person or a symbol or a figment of Ian’s imagination or maybe even all three wrapped up into one.
RR: Whoa, was that a description of the character or were you just having an identity crisis?
DRP: Well, after this play...yeah...Oh, I have a song about my character. It goes, “I’m in a play / where I rape a man / and I eat his eyes / and I shoot myself.” I’m still working on it.
RR: What do the eyes taste like?
DRP: They’re airy and light.
RR: What’s your character’s motivation? Why does he eat eyes?
DRP: He’s hungry! And it’s him reenacting something he saw done to his girlfriend. It’s all about perception and sentience and seeing something and wanting to experience it. One of the things the soldier keeps asking throughout it: “What is it like?” He’s also a very enigmatic character. You can’t really pin him down.
RR: Tell me about the video sequences in the play.
DRP: It’s some found footage, other pieces are compilations of things that we did late at night at The Advocate. In one film we smoked two packs of cigarettes in like 25 minutes. I mean we’re just smoking as fast as we could. There’s one shot of me and there’s snot coming out of my nose and I’m crying and there’s lots of saliva. It’s just very intense.
—Staff writer Jeff W. Feldman can be reached at email@example.com.