Imagine you are lost and alone in the forest. You have never been here before and you cannot see to find your way out. You don’t know if anyone knows you are missing or if they will be able to find you. It has been hours since you last ate or drank water; your resources are limited. You don’t know if it is night or day, and it is beginning to freeze. What do you do? Do you stay where you are and wait for help to come, or do you risk moving through the unknown without sight?
These are the choices the characters of The Blind are forced to contemplate.
In an extraordinarily dark forest, eight sightless individuals sit in wait for their caretaker’s return. Near them lies a body. Abandoned in the wilderness, they are forced to reckon with the unknown.
Written by Symbolist playwright Maurice Maeterlinck in 1890, The Blind remains a timely contemplation on hope and despair, and where we turn when our intuition and reason are engulfed by darkness.
As a part of the 2017 Capital Fringe Festival, The Wheel Theatre Company presents a new, ensemble-driven adaptation of this suspenseful classic, adapted and directed by Jack Read.
Maurice Maeterlinck was one of the most prominent figures in the early Symbolist movement. His plays favored abstract representations of humanity, rather than clearly-drawn characters. The characters in The Blind are nameless, with only simplest qualities defined (“the one who prays,” for example). We have chosen to portray these characters utilizing neutral masks built for the performers. The neutral mask denotes a state of presence, of existing in and of the moment, and create a sense of unity. This is our core approach to the world of The Blind, and the mission of The Wheel – a united ensemble, where every element is as crucial as the rest.
Sound is key to The Blind. Without sight, Maeterlinck’s characters must determine their way by describing what they hear: the sound of the forest at night, waves crashing onto rocky cliffs, a clock chiming twelve, footsteps in the distance. For The Blind, The Wheel has built an immersive soundscape to transport audiences into the forest along with the cast.
This production features music from Two Gospel Keys. Many thanks to Document Records for allowing us to feature these phenomenal artists. The Blind? also features an original composition by Seattle based musician, Jackson Floyd. On our website, thewheeltheatre.org, you can get a sneak peek at the music that inspired The Blind on our Spotify playlist.
Elizabeth Floyd is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of The Wheel Theatre Company. Elizabeth has had the opportunity to work at several theatres in the Virginia, DC, Maryland areas including, The American Shakespeare Center, The Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, and Center Stage. Elizabeth was last seen in as Emma the Greek in The Wheel’s production of At Sea, Staring Up and can be seen this summer as the costume designer, props designer and member of the ensemble in The Blind at the Capital Fringe Festival.