BBC Radio 3, 11 July 2010
Rebecca Lenkiewicz's episodic drama, set in the late 1960s, focused on
a relationship between two foster siblings (Annette Crosbie, David Bradley) who fell in love. Ken has apparently found a stable
life, married with children, while Sarah has spent her entire life in institutions, diagnosed with depression.
Jessica Dromgoole's production focused mostly on Sarah's incarceration 0 not because
she was physically ill, but because at that time depression was perceived as a threat to social stability. Hence Sarah was
regularly given ECT treatment to 'cure' her - when in truth it actually rendered her less sensitive to outside stimuli. Sarah
protested her reluctanbce to have it, but the medical staff, especially the doctor (David Seddon) took this as evidence of
her depressed state of mind, and administered it to her "for her own good." They treated her as a medical case, not a human
Despite her sufferings, Ken remained faithful to Sarah, yet somehow could not empathize
with her feelings. Perhaps this was because of his own inadequacies - a consequence of his fostered upbringing - or maybe
it was because Sarah's response to her suffering was to create imaginative worlds of her own. Lenkiewicz made it clear that
she started to suffer while still a child when her father regularly abused her.
Sarah and Ken was a play of relentless suffering - a love story in which
love could seldom be acknowledged. At length Sarah realized that Ken could never help her, and decided to leave him, even
though her decision transformed him into a pathetic figure, unable either to relate to Sarah or return to his wife and children.
As Sarah, Crosbie made use of all her vocal talents, her flat Scottish tones conveyed
the sense of resignation lying at the heart of Sarah's personality; the realization that no one could or wanted to help her;
she would always remain someone who would be better "out of sight, out of mind" in an institution. Bradley's Ken became more
and more desperate as the years passed, as he understood how Sarah moved away from him yet remained powerless to curtail it.