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In ‘Blindness’ at STC, the audience is live, with no actor in sight

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The immersive sound installation Blindness, originally produced with great success at the London Donmar Warehouse, premiered in the US at the Shakespeare Theater Company on December 8, 2020. For the first time since the end of COVID-19, customers will be welcome in the Sidney Harman Hall. There, the audience will be on stage, but not the actors.

In Blindness there is actually no live actor. Just a pre-recorded voice.

From the production of The Donmar Warehouse 2020 by Blindness. Photo by Helen Maybanks.

The Shakespeare Theater Company has obtained a waiver from the DC Government’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency to mount this unique theatrical experience. We spent months preparing and planning for the audience’s return to STC, says artistic director Simon Godwin. With a safety plan in place that has been approved by the city, we believe we can provide an exciting time in our theater, while protecting the health and well-being of our audience and staff. Complete information on STC safety guidelines is available here.

This brilliant production (The New York Times) will have customers on the edge of their seats absorbed by a story about a pandemic blindness told by Olivier Award nominee Juliet Stevenson (Really madly deep). Blindness is prophetic, says Godwin. It is a pandemic, social unrest, government control. But it’s also about hope and what we gain after thinking that all is lost. Blindness is a remarkable work of art for our time.

During the program, clients sit in a socially distanced manner and wear headphones that allow them to hear an immersive binaural recording, which immerses them in the dystopian world of Blindness.

After selling the Donmar warehouse in London this summer, Blindness will also have facilities at the Princess of Wales Theater in Toronto and Off-Broadway at the Daryl Roth Theater. Blindness will now be seen by audiences around the world, which makes me very proud and grateful, shares Michael Longhurst, artistic director of Donmar Warehouse. COVID-19 has radically changed the world and I hope our production can help theaters reopen their doors in the future for live performances.

From the production of The Donmar Warehouse 2020 by Blindness. Photo by Helen Maybanks.

Customers will be seated on stage at Sidney Harman Hall, in pairs, and will never be seated next to anyone outside of their own group. All clients and staff will wear masks at all times while in the building and should stay home if they feel ill or have symptoms of illness. To stay within DC’s ReOpenDC plan, seating capacity is strictly limited to 40 people and there will never be more than 50 people in the building.

Blindness starts December 8 and ends December 27 with viewing times at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, with additional noon screenings on Saturdays and Sundays. All seats are $ 49 and general admission. Tickets for Blindness can also be purchased at a reduced price with a STC 202021 season subscription package. Tickets for Blindness are available for purchase online.

From the production of The Donmar Warehouse 2020 by Blindness. Photo by Helen Maybanks.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

THE DONMAR WAREHOUSE is a 251-seat non-profit theater located in Covent Garden, London, run by Artistic Director Michael Longhurst and Executive Director Henny Finch. Their mission is to bring together a wide variety of people in their intimate warehouse space and elsewhere to create, witness and participate in exciting world-class theater. The Donmar has won over 100 awards over its 28-year history, with program highlights including founding artistic director Sam Mendes productions of Cabaret (with Alan Cumming) and The blue room (with Nicole Kidman). Michael Grandage (artistic director 2002-2012) brought remarkable productions from Othello with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ewan McGregor, and red with Alfred Molina and Eddie Redmayne. Josie Rourke (2012-2019 AD) brought in Tom Hiddleston Coriolanusand a trilogy of all-female Shakespeare plays directed by Phyllida Lloyd. Current Artistic Director Michael Longhursts, the inaugural 2019-2020 season focused on important stories, told in exciting ways, and included new plays from great writers such as Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Alice Birch and Mike Lew.

WALTER MEIERJOHANN was Artistic Director of HOME from 2013 to 2018 and International Associate Director at Young Vic in London. At Young Vic, his productions included the European premiere of In the red and brown Water by Tarell McCraney and Kafkas monkey, who has toured Sydney, Melbourne, Athens, Paris, Tokyo, Istanbul, Taipei and New York. The production, which starred Kathryn Hunter, also aired in the opening season of HOMEs 2015, with Hunter reprising her lead role. Walter has worked extensively in Germany and the United Kingdom in theaters including: the Barbican; Liverpool Playhouse; Nottingham Playhouse; The Curve, Leicester; Residenztheater, Munich; Staatsschauspiel, Dresden; Schauspiel, Graz; and Arena, Berlin, for Peter Steins Faust Ensemble and Impulse Theater Festival. Before joining the Young Vic, Walter was artistic director of Neubau at the State Theater in Dresden. In opera he assisted the late Klaus-Michael Grueber in his productions of Aida (Nederlands Opera, Amsterdam) and Don Giovanni (Ruhr Festival).

SIMON STEPHENS is an award-winning playwright Olivier and Tony. His theater credits include Fortune (Metropolitan, Tokyo), Maria, Rage (Thalia, Hamburg), Threepenny Opera House (NT), Country (MIF 2017 / Lyric Hammersmith / LIFT Festival 2018), Heisenberg (West end), Obsession (Barbican / Toneelgroep, Amsterdam), The Seagull, Herons, Morning, Three kingdoms, A thousand stars exploding in the sky, Punk rock (Lyric Hammersmith); Carmen’s breakdown (Deutsches Schauspielhaus / Almeida); Nuclear war, Birdland, Country music, Blue Bird (Royal Court); The curious incident of the dog in the night (Olivier and Tony Awards for Best New Play) (NT / West End / Broadway), A doll’s house (Young Vic / West End); Dike (Bush), Harper regan, Harbor (Royal Exchange, Manchester / NT), and On the shores of the wide world (Royal Exchange, Manchester). He has also written for film, television and radio. Simon is Professor at Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University and Artistic Associate at Lyric Hammersmith.

JULIET STEVENSON is one of the main UK players. His most recent theater credits include Doctor, for which she won the Critics Circle Award for Best Actress and is currently nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Actress, Mary stuart, Hamlet (Almeida / West End); Wings, and Happy Days (Young Vic). Juliet won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in 1991 for her performance in Death and the young girl, and has been nominated five more times. Juliet received five BAFTA nominations for her screen work. His films include Really madly deep (Evening Standard Film Award for Best Actress), Play it like Beckham, When was the last time you saw your father?, and Being Julia. Juliets’ latest TV work includes Riviera and Out of his mind, a comedy series starring Sara Pascoe that will air in September 2020. Her other credits include One of us and The Haunting of Enfield, and she appeared as a series regular in Atlantis and The village. She received the CBE in 1999.

ABOUT SHAKESPEARE THEATER COMPANY

Led by Artistic Director Simon Godwin and Executive Director Chris Jennings, The Shakespeare Theater Company (STC) is the country’s premier classical theater company. STC has become synonymous with artistic excellence and making classical theater more accessible to the public in and around the nation’s capital, building on the foundation laid by founding artistic director Michael Kahn.

Recipient of the Regional Theater Tony Award 2012, STC’s mission is to create innovative productions that inspire dialogue and connect classic works to the modern human experience. The company focuses on works of deep ideas, complex characters and poetic language written by Shakespeare and other ambitious and enduring plays with universal themes for all audiences. In this time of transition, the Companys mission is evolving with a three-year initiative to produce family theater during the holidays, and an expansion of the definition of classic to include playwrights previously excluded from canon, with a renewed commitment to quality theater. , uplifting and inclusive.

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