Blind Man’s Song – Pleasance Theatre, London

Director: Guillaume Pigé
Original music: Alex Judd
Reviewer: Stephen Bates


To the blind, everything visual exists only in the form of imagination. Expanding on this theme, Theatre Re has created this one-hour piece of dream-like physical theatre to take us into the mind of a sight impaired person, but audiences able to see the performance are invited to relate it to elements that may occur and recur in their own dreams.

Conceived and directed by Guillaume Pigé, the work consists of mime, modern dance and music. There are no words. Pigé himself and Selma Roth, their heads covered in white cloth, perform on a semi-lit stage, bare except for a bed and an upright piano, both of which are moved around. We are drawn into a cocoon of darkness and solitude that can only be infiltrated by sound.

Racing and swirling, gliding in slow motion, crashing suddenly to the ground, the performers pursue the unreachable and reach out for the untouchable. Pigé’s character, looking vaguely like a 19th Century Parisian artist, vents frustration that what he “sees” in his blindness is never actually there and what occurs in his imagination can never become real.

Lacking a clearly discernible continuous narrative thread, the piece gains cohesion from Alex Judd’s pulsating original score. Judd himself is on stage throughout, playing keyboard and strings and occasionally becoming part of the performance. Sounds from everyday life are blended into the music to create, in turns, harsh, repetitive rhythms, confused cacophonies of noise and soft, soothing melodies.

Blind Man’s Song is a challenging work that will be interpreted differently as individual viewers relate it to their own dreams and fantasies. Its universal appeal lies in the mysterious beauty of the imagery and the haunting quality of the music.

Runs until 15 May 2016 and then touring | Image: Richard Davenport

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