A Posthumous Letter to Sarah Kane

Dear Sarah,

I’ve been meaning to write you for some time now, as you’ve been on my thoughts quite a bit lately. Pretty much every day, actually. You’ll forgive me if that sounds a bit creepy, please allow me to explain.

I write a blog, you see. A theatre blog to be precise, and I’m proud to say that lately it’s been doing pretty well readership-wise, and you have had some influence in that. I want to give credit where it is due, and I don’t make any money from it directly – I write it in the hopes that my readers will talk a little more about theatre, thus elevating it somewhat in the larger public conciousness, so that more people will consider the theatre as an entertainment option and then eventually some of those people will come out and see one of my plays and then I will get some money from it. Oh, sorry, I’m a playwright too, you see, like you – well, that is to say, not a playwright of your calibre or notoriety, not yet anyway, but I do hold some such aspirations. Anyway, I digress. Habitually. Back to giving credit where it is due, and my thoughts and your presence among them.

Because of the aforementioned blog I am confronted with your name daily, and repeatedly. You see, I wrote a little post about you some time ago, and out of the 138 posts that I have written to date, that Sarah Kane post has been responsible for the vast majority of new traffic that Google and other such engines of its type have shepherded my way. To be exact, that article – the one about you – has been viewed from a key word search for “Sarah Kane” 816 times. It is my top post. It seems that there are an awful lot of people out there looking for answers about you, so much so that I’m beginning to suspect that you may qualify for official cult status. There’s been 6 SK hits to my site today alone, and it’s early. I wonder how many hits your Wikipedia page gets a day? A lot I’ll bet.

So what the heck is it that makes you so enigmatic? Is it your small yet enduring body of work, your suicide, or the articles of your body of work that ended up proving to be such a clear window into the psyche of a suicide? Should I be worried that so many people are looking for answers from you? Or relieved?

This past Tuesday was a National holiday in Canada (it was our birthday), and a lot of us here in Vancouver had taken advantage of the occasion to spend a four-day weekend away. So returning to the city on Tuesday afternoon my family and I found ourselves in the middle of a sea of cars coming back from Whistler or the Island, all of us heading towards one of the two bridges that grant access back into downtown. The day was a scorcher and traffic was slow. Slower than I’d ever seen it, actually. Dead slow. When we hadn’t moved a foot in twenty minutes we tuned into the local AM news station in the hopes of hearing some indication as to the cause of the gridlock. It seems that there was a “distraught women” clinging to the edge of the Ironworker’s Memorial Bridge and the police had closed it down – both ways – forcing all traffic to the Lion’s Gate Bridge while they attempted to talk her down. They attempted this for five and a half hours, and eventually convinced her to take another shot at her life, it seems. What is normally a twenty-minute car-ride turned into a four hour slog for us, and we missed the movie that we had planned to see that night. Intermittently on that slow crawl home we would hear a frustrated motorist yell “just jump, already!” or “step on her fingers!”. I didn’t yell anything, even though I shared a certain amount of their frustration, I just kept thinking of you and the woman on the bridge and felt sad and a little scared for her and read a magazine.

I wish that woman had read 4.48 Psychosis. It might not have kept her off that bridge that day, but maybe she would have felt a little less alone. I wish those impatient motorists had seen the production of 4.48 that I’d seen last year. I know their long drive would have been different. And I wish that you could have felt the impact that your work has had, and continues to have, while you were still alive.

Anyway, thanks for the blog hits.

Sincerely yours,

Simon.

The Death of Sarah Kane 4:00

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