“Darkness seems to unlock the doors of imagination and to arouse the wildest and most mysterious sides of our minds.”
Blind Man’s Song, directed by Gullieme Pigé, tells the story of a blind man’s rage against the world of darkness as he walks around his room with unsteady steps. Through theatre, mime, sound and original live music, Blind Man’s Song explores the power of imagination.
Pigé explained how he was fascinated by Rene Magritte painting, “The Lovers”. The faces were covered by a veil and Pigé wondered if the veil was there to transport us to a completely different world. “Blind Man’s Song came from several mysteries that I was dying to explore with Theatre Re team.” He confessed that when the creative and research process begun, he didn’t know exactly what he was looking for. “At the beginning I was curious of everything and it is only after a few months that I managed to make the link between the rehearsal room and the discussions with the HPG members. One started to feed of the other and vice versa.” With the help from the Haringey Phoenix Group, he “learned a whole lot” and was able to take that back into the rehearsal room.
The Haringey Phoenix Group is a charity based in London for the blind and visually impaired. After spending a year with members, conducting interviews and discussions, themes, ideas and situations were brought into focus. He praised Marie Lang (HPG volunteer coordinator) “without whom none of this would have happened, told me that it was absolutely crucial to establish a relationship of trust”. Of course, there has to be a sense of privacy and sincerity when discussing such subjects. Pigé admitted the challenge when working with the members was “about finding ways to chat openly about difficult subjects (the loss of someone, the accident that caused blindness) but also lighter ones (what amazes you on a daily basis, what makes you laugh, how would you describe beauty)”. Pigé went on to explain that from the information and material he collected, him and the Theatre Re team discovered “great metaphors for ideas and emotions that we could have possibly found had we been looking for them”.
In collaboration with the HPG, Theatre Re also worked with Vocal Eyes (a nationwide audio description charity), “We organized live audio described work-in-progress showcases the collaboration with VocalEyes proved to be decisive for the future developments of the piece.” Vocal Eyes illustrates the visual elements of theatre and other pieces of art which enable those who are visually impaired to share the experience.
Blind Man’s Song, highlights the importance of the accessibility of theatre. The truth is theatre should be there for everyone. It is used to educate and escape. Everyone should be able to access this magic. There are no limits when it comes to theatre. Pigé notes from the interviews that; “Imagination becomes stronger without sight.” And “You have to create your own imagination. You have to embrace the day with all the other senses. You have to smell the day.” As long as the audience has an imagination and want to be entertained, theatre should be accessible to everyone.
Theatre Re prove this with the best example; providing a show about a blind man, for the blind. It honours the people they gained so much knowledge and inspiration from. Theatre is dependent on the imagination of the audience which is the main focus for Pigé’s production. While working with members from HPG, he realised the power of the human mind. By having the audio description, live sound and relatable situations, the Blind Man’s Song is accessible for everyone. The more theatre companies can offer this, the wider the audiences can be.
“Because they cannot see, it seems that blind and visually impaired people have to go with their first feeling all the time. They have to go with the first thing, they have to follow their instinct, and they have to feel a situation. In other words it seems that they have to have a better connection with their inner feelings because it is a matter of survival. This is what is at the heart of ‘Blind Man’s Song’: the power of imagination.”
A Blind Man’s Song sounds like it is going to be a magical piece of art work. With the research and emotion that has gone into the making of it, I am certain a soulful and thought provoking piece will bloom.
The show will debut as part of the London International Mime Festival at Jacksons Lane in January 2015.