Everything that made Blasted a critics' whipping boy is revealed in the next scene, when a soldier (Erik Fabregat) breaks into the hotel room. Cate is gone, the hotel room has been destroyed by a mortar blast, and, after describing in — yea, pornographic — detail all the acts of cruelty he has taken part in during the war, the soldier, a foreigner, purrs to Ian: "I am dying to make love." Though that's not exactly what happens. The soldier rapes Ian and then sucks out his eyes.
I trust I'm not giving away anything too important by relating those details. They have been repeatedly reported in the press, usually breathlessly and usually in the context of a complaint. I'm not sure why. Kane wrote nothing into the script that doesn't occur in the nontheatrical world with mind-numbing regularity. Brutality happens. Theater is about things that happen. So it goes. I didn't think the eye-slurping and rapes were all that shocking.
Erik Fabregat (left) and Todd Allen Durkin
By Sarah Kane; directed by Joseph Adler; with Betsy Graver, Todd Allen Durkin, and Erik Fabregat. Through March 28. GableStage at the Biltmore, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables; 305-445-1119, gablestage.com
What shocked me was how credible Fabregat's soldier was when he said he needed to make love. He certainly looked love-starved. Is this what happens when death is always imminent, and we are given guns, and we discover there is no law higher than the one we make for ourselves? I don't know, and Sarah Kane didn't either. What she did know was that power corrupts: Cate is the only character to make it through the play in any shape at all. She was the most powerless person on the stage, and even after countless rapes and degradations, her eyes are full of dumb hope.