Venue 311, Old College Quad
As the sun begins to set and the audience gathers round the atmospheric Old College Quad, brightly dressed women emerge from the crowd, pair off with dashing men and begin to dance. It’s a scene that will be re-enacted several times throughout KTO‘s production, to devastating effect.
Suddenly a scream punctures the festive atmosphere. The dancers separate and we see a woman groping the air, suddenly sightless. One by one the others are struck down by the same malady, with the exception of a single woman.
The remainder of the story takes place in a sanatorium, where the lone sighted woman attempts to nurse and protect her friends while sinister figures in biohazard suits stand guard.
Based on Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago’s novel Blindness, this is a brutal fable of how civilisation breaks down and baser instincts take control, and of the savagery that lies at the core of humanity.
KTO excel at highly visual theatre, as can be seen from their other offerings also on at the Old College Quad this month, and this is no exception. The brutal tango danced amidst a swirl of glittering red confetti is an unforgettable image, and the use of industrial -style metal bed frames is an ingenious device.
Whilst the overall gist of the story is unmistakable, the clarity of the narrative is sometimes lost amongst the clanging poles, violence and hysteria. The Blind works best as an Expressionist statement – concentrate not on the details, but rather the emotions elicited by the experience.