Perth, Western Australia. 3 – 5 March 2017

Human beings are as robust as they are fragile – and being human can be as joyful as it can be a lonely and vulnerable existence.

Exploring Sarah Kane’s final play 4:48 Psychosis, participants will consider the day to day existence of being and unpick the themes within the play ­– depression, the complexity of relationships and love, dependency and isolation – and consider the importance of having the freedom to be vulnerable in a hostile world.

Jenny Sealey. Manchester, 18th Feb 2017

I’ve just watched the matinee of Graeae’s production of Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba (translated by Jo Clifford) which has one more week at Manchester Royal Exchange – an iconic in-the-round theatre in North West of England. My deaf and disabled cast led by Kathryn Hunter are still finding new things and exploring the extremities of their characters and finding the cement that binds them as well as the cracks they fall through. 

The play is not a million miles from 4:48 Psychosis – a play about the pitfalls of ‘being’, the flaws and fragility of the human mind and the deep depression mixed with wry humour of trying to make sense of it all. Suicide permeates both plays and both are written by writers (and for that matter the translator) who wrote not because of their demons but in spite of them.

Bernarda is a domestic structured three act play with dedicated characters; 4:48 Psychosis is, I think, more of a poetic battle played by any number of people.

I have in the past explored 4:48 Psychosis with one actor, seen it with three actors and recently with six singers in a glorious opera version. I am interested to find out how this works with many people forming an individual/collective response and what happens if it is set within a domestic setting. I want to use people’s response to the text to excavate what potential aesthetics of access could be and how they reside in the fluidity of the poem.

I am mindful of the responsibility of working with this text with people whose fragility I do not know and my role will be to create a safe environment. Maybe we only use Kane’s play as a catalyst to discover a different way of telling multiple narratives.

Whatever we do and discover, I am so happy to have this wonderful opportunity to continue being creative and learning from other artists.