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The New York Times has a nice article on “Blasted”, the extremely violent play that has been shocking — and wowing — audiences and disturbing the actors themselves.

The Soho Rep production has been unnerving theatergoers since its first preview, which sold out like every subsequent performance, and it has earned strong notices that have led to two extensions, now through Dec. 21.

No one was more disturbed by “Blasted” than its director, Sarah Benson, and the three cast members, yet they have found inventive ways to cope with the nightly torture sessions. (For one thing, no matinees. Double duty would be too much.)

[…] “It messed with my head, in preparations for the play; it was very disturbing,” Ms. Benson said. “I was actually depressed.” Mr. Cancelmi, who commits the most violent acts against Mr. Birney’s character, said the first reading of the play was “enormously upsetting,” but he and the other actors settled on what he called a “very workmanlike approach” that settled their emotions as rehearsals began.

“In a play like this,” Mr. Birney added, “if you had to live through this that way, you’d blow your brains out.”

Hmm… I would love to see the play if I ever get the chance!

And hats off to the actors. I have a deep admiration for artists who love their work deeply and are prepared to suffer any degree of distress — Heath Ledger being a tragic example — in their quest for perfection.

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It was a mindblowing performance, a work of art that makes the artist irrelevant.

Heath Ledger, RIP.

(Top picture by Flickr user Howie_Berlin . Lower picture by Flickr user yotambientengosuperpode res)

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