‘Blindness’ Lights Up Darkened West End in London

‘Blindness’ Lights Up Darkened West End in London

Socially distanced show is heading to North America.

London’s Donmar Warehouse Theatre has made stage history as the city’s first playhouse to open its doors to a paying public since the coronavirus lockdown began, The New York Times reports.

The play is an adaptation of the Nobel laureate José Saramago’s 1995 novel, “Blindness.”  It’s the story of a society sent into free fall by a pandemic.

The production is a collaboration between the Tony Award-winning playwright Simon Stephens and the director Walter Meierjohann. It’s actually a sound installation heard via headphones — there are no actors present.

“‘Blindness’ is no ordinary theatrical experience, but then we live in extraordinary times,” writes Times reviewer Matt Wolf. “The audience lines up outside the venue, in the Covent Garden district, wearing masks and keeping distance. Inside, there is plenty of hand sanitizer, but no bar or playbills. The production is running four times a day, like a movie, enabling the Donmar to make up some of the revenue it’s losing by restricting numbers in the auditorium to about 20 percent of its usual capacity.”

Wolf calls the production “an apocalyptic allegory about an outbreak of blindness — a ‘white sickness’ — that causes a society to break down.”


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