Theatre

"One year's writing and 23 years' living,'' Sarah Kane observes ruefully. "What am I going to do for the next one?" Her first full-length play Blasted opens at the Royal Court this week in a production by James Macdonald, one of the most intellige nt directors around. "My agent sent him the script. We met and then he gave it a rehearsed reading. Those three days showed how good he was for the play. He has no ego. That's extraordinary in a director."

Kane (right) directed shows at the Edinburgh Festival and, like most directors, has had to endure casting nightmares. Not this time. "It was a massive relief to sit through auditions where no-one was bad." Good thing, too. Her writing has an astonishing power and makes serious demands of its cast.

"Everyone has worked really honestly on the play, so even if it's a disaster, there won't be anyone to blame. I have been helped to understand my writing. James finds things I didn't consciously put there. I hope the production can realise the theatricalimages, that's what I'm most proud of." She laughs. "Personally I believe in the play fairy: you wake up one morning and there's a play on your desk. You've spent a year on it but you didn't realise you were doing it. I'm hoping she'll come an d visit me agin soon: I have a Royal Court commission due in two months' time."

`Blasted' is previewing at the Theatre Upstairs and opens on Tuesday (071-730 2554)

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