When Saramago’s idiosyncratic universe was put together with that of the also idiosyncratic and politically concerned group KTO Theatre, a huge and violent wave of ideas was created in the form of this masterpiece, The Blind. The monumental staging of this story (…) succeeds admirably, and deals brilliantly with the epic proportions of Saramago’s story. (…) A superb interpretation of this fantastic novel.
And there are also echoes of other great literary images of blindness, from the blind seer Tiresias of Greek tragedy, to Maeterlinck’s Les Aveugles, with its group of blind people on a troubled pilgrimage; in this powerful and beautifully acted visual drama about a society’s instinctive response to a crisis that kills no-one, but changes everything, and reveals many disturbing truths.
After the initial perfectly pure moments in the style of Chekhov, Zon makes his characters hear a moan, and then he leads them, now the blind with milk at the bottom of their eyes, to the world of white metal beds.(…)
The pure peace of the first moments of the tale will soon evaporate. After the first scream Zon keeps accelerating the rhythm. He constructs an overwhelming hour. Image after image – there is more and more madness on the square (…). The crackle of white beds keeps growing, they turn into barricades, a wailing wall, the way of the cross or barred hollows where the blind get their moments of peace. More and more powerful winds sweep the dust from the ground. More and more ruthless music makes the heads burst until the end when a woman in red stands on a bed with her hand placed on the air. She is looking (…). As if she were checking if the lost city is returning to her from the whiteness or not. No? Yes? No. It is not coming back.
This is why (…) it is a must to go and see it. Watch. Perceive. Perceive at all costs.
(…) the final 25 minutes deliver an eye-watering experience which is as visually stunning as anything you’ll ever see: the sky appears to bleed red, glittering rain.
Krakow-based KTO Theatre pulls off a rare feat in combining stunning visual effects with a potent emotional impact (…).
Whether through pounding music, imagery that’s by turns shocking and poignantly beautiful, or its physical performers’ sheer animal energy, the company seems intent on engaging the audience in as direct a way as possible. And it works: it’s hard to tear your eyes off the show, no matter how harrowing it becomes.
When a production we watch is rooted in the novel of Jose Saramago, then it must cause pain. The story of human behaviour in the apocalyptic end of the world, (…) reflecting the structure of a former order through various configurations of hospital beds and making a great impression on the spectators. They know that they are watching a story about themselves (…). The fall of an individual is painful but the fall of a group of people is terrifying. We get frightened by our helplessness while facing a crowd where compassion and respect for another human being disappear. This process is rendered with great precision by the actors of the KTO Theatre.
Ten years after its premiere and in the year of coronavirus stopping the world in its tracks, the monumental outdoor performance becomes an even more acute diagnosis of contemporary mechanisms, irrational choices, fear, dishonesty and disinformation.
What seemed like fiction yesterday, today may happen to be a reality.
The show was nominated for the Edinburgh’s Total Theatre Award in the category of Physical/ Visual Theatre. It has been presented over 100 times on 50 festivals in many countries around the world, including South Korea, Iran, Mexico, Colombia, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Germany, Scotland, Belgium, Russia, Czech Republic, Romania, Ukraine, and Costa Rica.
Script, direction and selection of music:
Zofia de Ines, Joanna Jaśko-Sroka
Karolina Bondaronek, Danuta Kulesz-Różycka, Paulina Lasyk, Justyna Orzechowska, Urszula Swałtek, Grażyna Srebrny-Rosa, Justyna Wójcik, Marta Zoń, Sławomir Bendykowski, Bartek Cieniawa/Jacek Joniec, Aleksander Kopański, Michał Orzyłowski/Mateusz Kmiecik, Paweł Monsiel, Szymon Pater, Adam Plewiński
Premiere: June 18, 2010, Krakow
Duration: 60 minutes