A play without plot or characters, with no stage direction in the text, which itself cascades across the page with no regard for sentence structure or punctuation — Sarah Kane's 4:48 Psychosis is unwieldy and awkward by conventional theatrical standards. And that's the point: "What is much more important than the content of a play is it's form," Kane once commented, and the form of 4:48 Psychosis is that of an obsessive mind fixated on one idea — the brutal negation of self — shaking and worrying this idea relentlessly. In language that is bleakly poetic, at times trite and at other times diamond-brilliant in clarity, Kane's final play creates a sense of despair and isolation that is dreadful and final. But how, again, do you stage it? The Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble attempts the task with a combination of the movement-based acting techniques Viewpoints and Suzuki, using the body to express the anguish of the mind. The SATE presents 4:48 Psychosis at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (February 26 through March 7) at the Chapel (6238 Alexander Drive, Clayton; 314-835-7415 or www.slightlyoff.org). Tickets are $15.
Thursdays-Saturdays. Starts: Feb. 26. Continues through March 7, 2009