Following its sell-out run at the Donmar the acclaimed sound installation Blindness will transfer to North American venues this Autumn with an international premiere at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto on 17 November, and installations in November and December at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. and the off-Broadway Daryl Roth Theatre in New York. Final dates to be announced. Blindness will be one of the first events to be staged indoors in Canada and the USA since theatres closed due to the pandemic in March.
Blindness is based on the dystopian novel by Nobel-prize winning José Saramago, adapted by Simon Stephens and directed by Walter Meierjohann, with the voice of Juliet Stevenson as the narrator/doctor’s wife. It opened in August at the Donmar Warehouse which was one of the first UK venues to reopen temporarily to the public with COVID-19 safety precautions in place.
As the lights change at a major crossroads in a city in the heart of Europe a car grinds to a halt. Its driver can drive no more. Suddenly, without warning or cause, he has gone blind. Within hours it is clear that this is a blindness like no other. This blindness is infectious. Within days an epidemic of blindness has spread through the city. The government tries to quarantine the contagion by herding the newly blind people into an empty asylum. But their attempts are futile. The city is in panic.
Visitors listen on headphones to this gripping story of an unimaginable global pandemic of infectious blindness – and its profoundly hopeful conclusion – featuring an immersive sound design using binaural technology by Ben and Max Ringham. Each venue will be reimagined by designer Lizzie Clachan and atmospheric lighting designed by Jessica Hung Han Yun, with the creative team working remotely to bring the installation to life from over three thousand miles away.
As in the Donmar’s original installation enhanced safety measures will be used to ensure the health and safety of all visitors to Blindness. Visitors will be seated apart in accordance with local social distancing requirements, unless they attend with someone from their household or social bubble.