Saturday, April 17, 2021

Review of ‘Blindness’: Listening to the sound of theater again

As Stevenson lied in his performance, we became stand-ins for wife’s confidants. Thanks to Ben and Max Ringham’s hugging sound design, the audio presents the actress up close: you can almost feel her breath on her ear as she whispers what she sees, and makes your way around her. Tracks as the sound bounces from one piece to another. When I heard the buzzing of flies, which used to fly around the outer curl of my ear, I turned.

As the character unravels, so does Stevenson, his voice is breathing with desperation. In one scene, a group of blind men as a beast demands to be offered to women in exchange for food, which is his “fury of demons”! A bone chilling rises to scream.

Stephens, Tony Award winner “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” There are bold, sensible choices here, especially given the constraints of creating a socially distorted theater. Yet this “Blindness” is quite funny about Saramago’s most spectacular elements of the novel. Lost in lyrical philosophical translation about human nature, cut off for Stevenson’s more direct description. Other voices, already suppressed in the book, disappear completely. Likewise, the inevitable commentary on how institutions let their people fall down.

As Stevenson pronounced the word “pandemic”, the shadow of the Kovid-19 loom in a 70-minute game on that “C” with a sharp British click. But the coronovirus did not really come to my mind while there was. The story of this epidemic felt too different – too hasty, isolating for a character, careless to a much larger social narrative – to translate perfectly to what we have experienced in the past year.

The final minutes of production abruptly come to an end, glossing over the final work of the story in summary. It is as if this show, produced in a real pandemic fighting world, has no hold yet on how its fictional pandemic story should end.

Instead of Saramago finishing, Stephens arrives for an old scene involving three women taking a bath in the rain. This change puts women’s resilience at the center of the story. But it ultimately feels like an empty gesture, in the way adaptations are hinted at the development of characters other than the Doctor’s wife.

For someone like me, who had just read the novel, “Blindness” is more of a sensory experience than a rich theatrical evacuation; More than a fictitious story about hope and humanity, it plays as a thrill for long-deprived ears and eyes.

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