In an epidemic year what better play than one about another epidemic that plagues an entire country seemingly overnight? In a sound extravaganza, Blindness, which was first produced in London’s Covent Garden and written by Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night Time) is as imaginative, as anything I have seen in a long while.
The show is presented by way of head phones for each audience member; the premise is to give us superb sound effects and a genuine feel of what it is like to be blind. Ben and Max Ringhan – Chris Cronin in the US give us surreal sound effects: we are consumed by this innovative and marvelous surround sound that has us twitching in our seats.
As we start to welcome back live theater, The Daryl Roth Theater has put forth a great opening act with Blindness. For 70 minutes we are mostly kept in the dark and have to imagine what it is like to be blind; blinded by a pandemic much like the one we have today, only much worse. People who have come in contact with Doctor X have been infected and become mysteriously blind; hospitals fill up, food becomes a luxury and bad people take advantage of a very bad situation and life has been plundered into dystopia. In the darkness we are patients at a hospital, either we are eavesdropping or the staff is talking directly to us and telling us just how grim life is; some people can still see, most can’t.
Director Walter Meierjohann seeks to keep the tension rising throughout the performance, even though the writing at times can lose your attention, the directing is able to continually reel in the show.
Juliet Stevenson’s narration is both mystical and down right intimidating; she hovers around your ears, face and your back like a witch who is trying to laud you into a trans. For the people who like traditional plays, Blindness is a whole different type of show; the penetration of this show may be to intense for a passive theater goer. The headsets are so life like that the volume and pace in the pitch black may be too much. For the adventurous and the theater lover who is willing to see different productions, Blindness is something very different as well as fun.