The director and producer chatted to Emma Clarendon about the new audio immersive interpretation of 4:48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane.

Hi Kyla could you explain a bit more about what 4:48 Psychosis is about? 4:48 Psychosis is difficult to describe. The script is divided into 24 fragments and there are no specified characters. This means that the play is open to a myriad of different interpretations. At its core it is a deeply moving work about someone in the throes of a mental health crisis hence the name. It is said that 4:48 was the time Kane awoke whilst suffering depression and psychosis is where we lose touch with reality, seeing, hearing or touching things that don’t exist. The play opens with a dialogue between one of the characters and what one presumes is a doctor. It has many themes including, grief, love, loneliness and loss. It is raw, disturbing and deeply moving yet also contains humour.

When you first read the play what were your initial thoughts? I experienced a deep visceral reaction when I first read the play. All great works of art do that, cause the hairs to rise on your arms, punch you in the gut. It is an agonising search for meaning, for love, for an end to loneliness. A howl of rage, a cry for help.

What attracted you to the play in the first place? I love the play’s fluidity. Because there are no specified characters it is widely open to interpretation and has been produced as an opera, a ballet, and a rock song as well as more traditional theatre interpretations. It is also beautifully written, parts of it are poetic both on the page and to the ear.

What do you think that people can take away from 4:48 Psychosis? I’m hoping that it will help people to fully appreciate Kane’s text because it is in the dark. I’m hoping that it will feel as though it is happening to them in a wholly immersive way. Darkness makes us feel vulnerable and all around will be voices as though they have psychosis. There will be ambient sound guiding people through scenes but the star of the show is the wonderful poetry of Kane’s play.  I’m sure everyone will be affected by the performance in a way unique to them. I must emphasise the fact that the play contains themes of depression and suicide which may be triggering for some. It will be performed entirely in the dark and is not suitable for children due to strong language and adult themes.

How are you feeling about performing the piece? This is the first time it has been done this way and I am looking forward to experiencing it. It’s very exciting.

How do you think that performing it in the church of holy innocents will add to the resonance of the play? I chose the Church of the Holy Innocents because it has great acoustics and is used by orchestras and choirs for professional recordings. I thought it would be a wonderful experience to hear the play in an environment designed specifically to carry the human voice. 

After the performance what is next in store for you? I’m looking to take my play O.L.D to the Edinburgh Fringe after a successful Camden run in 2018.

By Emma Clarendon

4:48 Psychosis will be performed at The Church of The Holy Innocents Paddenswick Road Hammersmith London, W6 OUB on the 25th May.