The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 9, 2002 - 7
Suicide, depression at the heart
of Sarah Kane's '4.48 Psychosis'
By Marie Bernard
Daily Arts Writer
At a point in time where the con-
cept of "depression" has become so
common it almost belongs to the air,
British writer Sarah Kane hoped to
despair, or out of a
feeling of despair." 4.48 Psi
Our culture is saturat-
ed in candy-colored Arena T
Prozac ads, Cos- Frieze B
mopolitan cover sto- Thursday
ries and tragic memoir Saturday
after tragic memoir - Fr
all of which has begun
to override the severi-
ty of this condition
which crippled Kane and affects 20
percent of our population. Her play
"4.48 Psychosis," which was original-
ly performed in London one month
after her suicide, will be staged this
week by Basement Arts.
The play was a challenge for the
cast from start to finish. The com-
pleted work, which was found shortly
after Kane's death, contained no stage
directions or character designations.
This production has divided the voic-
es into three "characters," played by
Johanna Schuster-Craig, Alyson
Grossman and Brian Lobel. "The
final result is always subject to inter-
pretation," says Joanna
Schuster-Craig. The play
was almost written like a
CHOSIS poem - a journey
through Kane's mind as
eater, she neared her death. It
ilding is non-linear in structure.
hrough These difficulties are
7p.m. compounded with the
sound and video effects
that Basement Arts has
Arts incorporated into their
"4.48 Psychosis" has been praised
for its ability to turn such a "dark"
subject into a magnificent art. Her
first work, "Blasted," received a harsh
response in 1995 for its gruesome
portrayal of cannibalism and rape, but
was appreciated by dramatists like
Harold Pinter and Howard Barker,
who helped to support her career as
she wrote more plays and moved in
and out of mental institutions. Unlike
"Blasted," however, "4.48 Psychosis"
was received as an act of great artistic
bravery - a poignant and mesmeriz-
ing look at the inner mind of depres-
sion. The New York Times, when
reviewing the London Royal Court
production of "Psychosis 4.48," noted
that: "The most shocking aspect of
these two short plays by Sarah Kane
is not the raw, clearly autobiographi-
cal horror they describe, it is Kane's
incredible ability to create such won-
derfully crafted, elegiac art out of her
very private sufferings. Schuster-
Craig noted that Kane was not an
"apathetic sufferer" and that although
the play "deals with a dark subject,
the play itself is strikingly optimistic
in a bleakly ironic sense."
It is certainly bleak, if not intrigu-
ing, to see the last work of a woman
who hung herself on a bathroom
hook at the age of 28. "What I can do
is put people through an intense
experience," Kane said of her writ-
ing. "Maybe in a small way from that
you can change things."
'Ruminations on College Life' is
a hilarious collection of columns
By Stephanie Schonholz
Daily Staff Reporter
The drunken debauchery of scheming Ivy-leaguers
and girls, girls, girls in the timeless poetry of Jay-Z,
inspired 23-year-old Aaron Karo to start off his comedic
career in the fall of '97 as a freshman at the University ---- 1
of Pennsylvania. Now as a member of the "real world,"
Karo, in the same fashion as Candace Bushnell, has
published a hilarious book comprised of all his monthly
columns from four years of college, titled "Ruminations
on College Life."
"People ask me where the title "Ruminations" came
from and honestly I don't know. I don't even think I
knew what that word meant back then. Some people
probably don't know what it means now," said Karo.
Karo's comedic etchings mix the hard edge, raunchy
humor of Chris Rock with the offbeat rantings about
nothing that Jerry Seinfeld was best known for.
"If I had to sum the book up I'd say imagine Seinfeld
as a frat boy," he added.
His tales journey from the freshman dorms through -
his frat house, stopping to contemplate how to do laun-
dry, how to get a girl in bed and how to funnel as many
beers in one go as was humanly possible. And yes, he
did stop in academic buildings for a laugh and some ,.
education along the way.
"The book's about my best friends and what happened
to us in college, anything was fair game," said Karo._ .
Partying all-night and sleeping all day was the colle-
giate regiment that Karo, adopted in his first days as an
undergraduate in the Wharton School of Business. ariously through him, Karo's comedic ingenue has con-
But come Sunday nights when most undergrads tinued to intrigue people.
attempted to sleep in order to re-enact the previous Karo's parents "blindly financed (his) excessive drinking
week's boozing and occasional attending of classes, Karo habits," he states in the opening pages of "Ruminations,"
lay awake. His body no longer able to cope with normal and all those beers and drunken stuppours just might be
sleeping patterns and the past week's may- paying off. Graduating in the spring of 2001,
hem still running through his head, he Karo ventured the chaos of Wall Street, but
decided to write it all down in an e-mail and has now decided to devote his life full time to
send it to his high school friends. a career in show business.
His friends proceeded to forward these RUMINATIONS From L.A., where Karo is pursuing his
wild antics to their friends and so on. The ON COLLEGE dream of making "Ruminations" into a tele-
phenomenon known to his devoted fans as vision show or a feature film, he added, "You
the "Karo Effect," snowballed into "Rumi- LIFE know, I had four years of material and I
nations on College Life," so Karo created a Aaron Karo thought maybe I could do something with it."
website, wwwaaronkaro.com, as a forum Unlike other books about college, Karo
for all his emails and now has a readership Simon & Schuster doesn't sugar-coat the reality of the pres-
of over 11,000 people worldwide. With a & sure cooker-get drunk fast and cheap and
fan base spanning the age gap, from kids in high school, hook up combo that comprises college. He tells it like it
to college students in the Midwest, to alumni living vic- is, beer goggles and all.
Newcomerraz fails to maean
identity for himself on debut
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on Mayer's recent pop
success Room For
Squares, drums on the
off beats drive Waiting.
Mraz's drive often
ends up going
nowhere, whether the
song is upbeat or mel-
low they lack the same
hooks that grab
Mayer's fans. Mraz
slightly alters the for-
Having not picked up a guitar for
the first time until the ripe old age
of 18, Jason Mraz debuts his young
talent on the album Waiting For My
Rocket To Coine. On Waiting, a col-
lection of simple acoustic guitar
melodies and pop\folk vocals, Mraz
coos with an eerie similarity to John
singing, but the song is nothing that
hasn't been done before, and is cer-
tainly not something pushing the
album over the edge to the side of
Mraz's lyrics also lack creativity.
He hopes to leave the content up to
interpretation; instead, the listener is
left craving more wit and originality
than the extremely generic lyrics
"well good-day sunlight/ I'd like to
say how truly bright
you are." Mraz does
attempt to play on
words in "Too Much
Food," - the catchiest
FOR MY song of the bunch.
T TO "Pass me the spoon /
ME pass the analytical
knife / cause you're
Mraz about to get cut up / I
ecords get cut down."
Other tracks, such as
"Sleep All Day" and
"The Remedy (I won't worry)" pro-
vide a forum for Mraz's life philoso-
phy, and do the best job of almost
sucking you into his dream world of
eating "humble pie" and kissing
"minty fresh breath."
Overall, Waiting For My Rocket
To Come isn't bad, just not original.
The perpetuating trend of musical
rip-offs and followers definitely
continues with Mraz; for every Brit-
ney there is a Christina, for every
Lavigne, a Michelle and for John
Mayer, a Jason Mraz.
mula on "Curbside Prophet," with
some twangy guitars and freestyle