By Robert Simonson
19 Oct 2005
The new production is presented as part of "ACT FRENCH: A Season of New Theater from France," running in New York July 15–Dec 15. According to press materials, French theatre director Claude Régy stages the play, "which contains no conventionally defined characters—into a quasi monologue. Renowned actress Isabelle Huppert —in her U.S. stage debut—becomes the central voice, offset by occasional exchanges with a therapist (played by Gérard Watkins)." 4.48 Psychose played October 2002 at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris.
Huppert is one of France's biggest film stars, known for such internationally praised movies as Claude Chabrol’s "Violette Nozière" and "The Story of Women," Jean-Luc Godard's "Every Man for Himself" and "Passion," and Michael Haneke’s "The Piano Teacher" (2001).
Kane, whose plays include Blasted, Cleansed and Crave, committed suicide just days after her 28th birthday. The young playwright rose controversially to prominence in 1995 when, at age 23, she had her first play, Blasted, staged by the Royal Court. 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.
The English title of the play is 4.48 Psychosis.