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From Humanism to Meta-, Post- and Transhumanism?

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Edited By Irina Deretić and Stefan Lorenz Sorgner

The relationship between humanism, metahumanism, posthumanism and transhumanism is one of the most pressing topics concerning many current cultural, social, political, ethical and individual challenges. There have been a great number of uses of the various terms in history. Meta-, post- and transhumanism have in common that they reject the categorically dualist understanding of human beings inherent in humanism.
The essays in this volume consider the relevant historical discourses, important contemporary philosophical reflections and artistic perspectives on this subject-matter. The goal is to obtain a multifaceted survey of the concepts, the relationship of the various concepts and their advantages as well as their disadvantages. Leading scholars of many different traditions, countries and disciplines have contributed to this collection.
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Marina Milivojević-Mađarev, Yugoslav Drama Theater, Belgrade - The Idea of Humanism in the Work of Sarah Kane

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Marina Milivojević-Mađarev

Yugoslav Drama Theater, Belgrade

The Idea of Humanism in the Work of Sarah Kane

Introduction

Sarah Kane (1971–1999) wrote five plays: Blasted, Crave, Phaedra’s Love, Cleansed and Psychoses 4.48. These plays radically changed our way of thinking about what theatre is, and why the theatre is vitally important both for an individual and society. The critics put her work under the theatrical trend called In-yer-face. In the book In-Yer-Face, theatre critic Aleks Sierz gives this definition for this theatrical tendency:

“The widest definition of in-yer-face theatre is any drama that takes the audience by the scruff of the neck and shakes it until it gets the message. […] Questioning moral norms, it affronts the ruling ideas of what can be or should be shown on stage; it also taps into more primitive feelings, smashing taboos, mentioning the forbidden, creating discomfort. […] How can you tell if a play is in-yer-face? It really isn’t difficult: the language is usually filthy, characters talk about unmentionable subjects, take their clothes off, have sex, humiliate each another, experience unpleasant emotions, become suddenly violent.”1

This definition is a good starting-point for analyzing the content of Sarah Kane’s dramas and her attitude toward the audience. In the moment of appearance, her work was like a stone hitting the face of the British public. When her plays were put on stage, they were provoking both critics and audience....

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