‘If you’re looking for infinity, just close your eyes.’
Blind Man’s Song tells its story in many ways: through music, movement and images, but no words. The quote is the muse behind the composition. Blind Man’s Song is now being performed at the Pleasance Theatre having premiered in 2015 and toured many festivals, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
The performance space is an artwork in its pre-theatre state, presaging moments to come. The look is monochromatic, an ornate black bed under a cloud of smoke lit white against the blackness. It’s a suitable home for a blind man to enter and set his imagination free. The joy of this style of performance is that the audience can likewise enable their imaginations, making what they will of the opportunities presented them.
Alex Judd is the blind man. He wears dark glasses and carries a cane. His stick finds the edge of the bed and he sounds a tattoo on it before settling himself on the pillows. And then his imagination takes over and two more performers join him – a man and a woman, their faces covered, their clothes echoes of that worn by the blind man.
In a blurring sequence of movements and interactions with each other, the three characters work to offer shades of love and courage that invite colouring and details to be added by the watchers.
Guillaume Pige and Selma Roth are the man and woman of the imagination and combine dance and mime elements to depict episodes of love, vulnerability and courage in the face of the unknown and unseen. Their work is powerful and evocative.
An intricate part of this piece is the music that comes from Judd as the blind man. The score has been written by him and played onstage on keyboard and violin with great skill and musicality. It’s often augmented with recorded music but is as effective in the simplicity of a single live instrument as it is when it deepens to a fuller orchestration. The music supports the movement and mood of the performers onstage in a symbiotic relationship.
Another element of strength for the audience are the stunning visuals effected by the combination of designs by Malik Ibheis for costume and set and the outstanding light design of Katherine Graham. These physical elements enhance the shapes of the bodies in movement and produce wonderful images.
Every member of the audience will leave the theatre with individual variations of the story behind the music and movement. Performances of any kind are alwaysinterpreted in a personal way but in this style of theatre there is an infinitely greater scope for experience at a very intimate and individual level. Therein lies the worth and the joy of it.