Sarah Kane, the British playwright who caused a sensation in London before committed suicide in 1999 at the age of 28, will finally have her U.S. debut this fall. The Off-Off-Broadway Axis Company will stage Kane's Crave, with performances beginning Nov. 1 (opening on Nov. 8).
Deborah Harry, lead singer of the rock group Blondie and an occasional actress, will be featured in the production. Also appearing in the show are Brian Barnhart, David Guion and Kristin Di Spaltro.
Harry recently reunited with Blondie for a successful album and tour. During its heyday from 1977 to 1982, the new wave-ish Blondie racked up four number one hits: "Heart of Glass," "Call Me," "The Tide Is High" and "Rapture." Since then, Harry has taken occasional parts in independent and studio films such as "Videodrome," "Hairspray," "Heavy" and "Copland."
The Royal Court of London staged the world premiere of the last play by Kane this past summer. 4.48 Psychosis ran from June 24 to July 15 in the Court's Jerwood Theatre Upstairs.
Kane, whose plays include Blasted, Cleansed and Crave, committed suicide in February 1999 just days after her 28th birthday. The young playwright rose controversially to prominence in 1995 when, aged 23, the Royal Court staged her first play Blasted. The play disgusted many critics with its portrayal of cannibalism and male and female rape. Kane's predilection for violence continued to divide critics in subsequent plays -- Phaedra's Love, which she also directed, at the Gate Theatre and, back at the Royal Court in 1998, Cleansed. Her final work before her death, Crave, received its world premiere at 1998's Edinburgh Festival Fringe and later received a London run back at the Royal Court. The play, in which four characters sit and talk in verse of obsessive love, was more enthusiastically received by critics who appreciated the lack of gore and believed it demonstrated Kane's maturity as a playwright. But, perhaps tellingly, the play ended with suicide.
4.48 Psychosis, in which the central character dreams of going to the doctor's and being given just eight minutes to live, was directed by James McDonald and designed by Jeremy Herbert with lighting by Nigel Edwards.
The Axis Theatre is known for its mixing of theatre and technology. Past productions have included Frankenwright, a play fusing Dr. Frankenstein, architect Frank Lloyd Wright and — to make things interesting — Chicago World's Fair serial killer H.H. Holmes; Beckett's Play; and Buchner's Woyzeck.
Axis is located at One Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village. For information, call (212) 807-9300.
—By Robert Simonson