Don Quixote - Theatre of the Blind

This article is from 2009.

Don Quixote - Theatre of the Blind

At first glance, it’s a simple trick, performing Cervantes’ classic to a blindfolded audience. But as the show’s originator Charlie Ward points out, his blacked-out Don Quixote is no gimmicky scratch-and-sniff sensory experience.

‘This is an attempt to get away from that,’ Ward says. ‘We are aiming for something a lot more nuanced. Like when you read a novel, the way that you imagine things is particular to you and it’s richer than what you see on the conventional stage.

Theatre of the Blind forces you to use your imagination and that’s a completely different theatre. It’s distinct from radio plays, because your physical presence is essential to the way we perform the play.’

Why Don Quixote? ‘It’s a novel about seeing,’ says Ward. ‘There’s a medical condition called visual agnosia, which causes people to see things in different ways. Don Quixote’s madness is rooted in the way he sees the world, a heathen hoard instead of a flock of sheep, for example. And in Theatre of the Blind the audience relies on what he says to build a picture of things. So it works very well with the subject matter.’

The Bongo Club, 557 2827, 7–22 Aug (not 9, 16), 2.05pm, £10 (£7). Previews 5 & 6 Aug, £4.


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