Sarah Kane's 4.48 Psychosis: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Sarah Kane's 4.48 Psychosis

1st Edition

By Glenn D'Cruz


90 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2018-02-20
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"Everything passes/Everything perishes/Everything palls" – 4.48 Psychosis

How on earth do you award aesthetic points to a 75-minute suicide note? The question comes from a review of 4.48 Psychosis’ inaugural production, the year after Sarah Kane took her own life, but this book explores the ways in which it misses the point. Kane’s final play is much more than a bizarre farewell to mortality. It’s a work best understood by approaching it first and foremost as theatre – as a singular component in a theatrical assemblage of bodies, voices, light and energy. The play finds an unexpectedly close fit in the established traditions of modern drama and the practices of postdramatic theatre.

Glenn D’Cruz explores this theatrical angle through a number of exemplary professional and student productions with a focus on the staging of the play by the Belarus Free Theatre (2005) and Melbourne’s Red Stitch Theatre (2007).


"D’Cruz offers a compelling argument for the theatrical possibilities of the play, its place in the field of postdramatic theatre, and its ability to resonate with audiences twenty years after its first performance. Succinct and engaging, this short book […] is a useful source for educators teaching Kane’s work, or theatre practitioners bravely considering the challenge of producing it."

Sarah Peters, Flinders University, Australia, in Australasian Drama Studies

Table of Contents

List of figures


Chapter 1: Contextualising 4.48 Psychosis: 'Everybody loves a dead girl' – Sarah Kane as innovator and icon

Chapter 2: Reading 4.48 Psychosis: The flaw in love (and psychiatry)

Chapter 3: Theorising 4.48 Psychosis: 4.48 Psychosis as postdramatic theatre

Chapter 4: Teaching 4.48 Psychosis: Performance and pedagogy

Chapter 5: Performing 4.48 Psychosis: From Minsk to Melbourne

Chapter 6: Conclusion

About the Author

Glenn D’Cruz teaches Drama and Cultural Studies at Deakin University, Australia.

About the Series

The Fourth Wall

Routledge’s Fourth Wall books are short, accessible accounts of some of modern theatre’s best loved works. They take a subjective but easily digestible approach to their topics, allowing their authors the opportunity to explore their chosen subject in a way that is absorbing enough to be of use both to lovers of theatre and those who are being asked to study a play more deeply.

Each book in the series looks at a specific play, variously exploring its themes, contexts and characteristics while prioritising original, insightful writing over complexity or scholarly weight. While other cultural products such as albums and films are well served by this kind of writing, the Fourth Wall series aims to find room between rigorous analysis and the short format of reviews or articles. They are extended accounts that get to the heart of their chosen works without being bound by the density that academic treatments can often require.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
DRAMA / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / Playwriting