This production left me with, appropriately, aggressive feelings. To be blunt: I hated it. But to be brief, I left more apathetic than assaulted, and it was the hypocritical arrogance of the critics that has sent me into an almost uncontrollable fury.
Simon Kane, in Mark Blankenship’s preview article of Blasted, alluded to The Dark Knight as an example of the modern mindless violence that we are all over-exposed to. Not Hostile, not Saw I – V, not the evening news. BATMAN. Blasted, according to Simon Kane, is the work of art that is intended to “resensitize” us to the violence of the world that Batman has so frivolously stolen from us. But I question this notion of “resensitization,” as I do not believe cramming horrific violence without any discernible thread of a plot down our throats in a space associated with high art and intellectualism is helping the matter in the slightest – especially as I sit in the back row watching the entire audience lurch forward each time the lights pop up again in a frantic search for the next graphic atrocity. What does this play really say about our cravings as a culture? I suggest a look at Arthur Miller’s Resurrection Blues, where a dilapidated country uses the world's lust for violence to pull themselves out of third-world status. I am equally put to an alarming state of unease when Ben Brantley admits to empathizing with these abominable characters. There is an abundance of plays with rich plot and relatable characters by excellent and important writers today that some people, like Charles Isherwood in his review of Blasted, seem to want to gloss over (like Martin McDonah or Tracey Letts – whom, Isherwood seems to have forgotten, wrote August: Osage County) in favor of out-and-out violence that they can defend because it is in the high-class locale of the theater – a place not yet squelched by gobs of buttery popcorn or easily expended as background noise to making dinner.
And then, in that same article, Isherwood went on to claim Beverly Hills Chihuahua as worthwhile “escapism.” Of course, I could perhaps be speaking too soon – I admit I have not seen Beverly Hills Chihuahua. But have you?
(However, despite all my feelings here, it needs must be said - because all the articles I have read, for some strange reason, managed to bypass this little tidbit: GO SARAH BENSON, BROOKLYN COLLEGE ALUM!)