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.


1. bernard14 Aug 2009, 8:20am5 stars Don Quixote - Theatre of the Blind Report

As a passionate re-reader of the original I can state that, contrary to the programme notes, Cervantes need not receive any apology. This little taste of Quixote and Sancho’s early adventures has been skilfully adapted for performance, and presented with great enthusiasm and originality –very different from other dramatic, cinematographic and musical adaptations. If sight has been replaced by the inner eyes of the audience, it is novel to rely on hearing, touch, and smell, to follow the events –perhaps a little lentil stew might have included the taste buds! Well worth an hour of your time on the busy Festival trail.

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