The largest project of this past year has been my directing thesis for Columbia University. "The Blind" a symbolist play from the 1890s by Maurice Maeterlinck, explores the pitfalls of blind faith and the larger unifying rules by which we are all governed, i.e., the need for food, shelter and ultimately, death. Symbolist theater is best summed up by this quote from the late and great Maeterlinck scholar Daniel Gerald,
“He saw human kind amidst the natural world of plants, animals, and inanimate objects, as well as in relation to the cosmos and infinity. Although it was unknown and unknowable, the mysterious reality that Maeterlinck saw as the essential human condition was something common to the species, present in everyday life, egalitarian and accessible to each of us… Souls everywhere the poet maintained are alike and can communicate with one another regardless of wealth or class.”
Where else but at a university would I have been given the opportunity to get such a theoretically based play produced? I had been developing my concepts for this piece for a year by the time I began rehearsals, and I could have easily worked it for another year. It is an amorphous piece that allows internal exploration to continue indefinitely--my own experience a testament to this very idea. Maeterlinck's insight into the human condition is as relevant in the 21st century as it was in the 19th and quite haunting for modern audiences, and I thank my hard working design team and brave actors for bringing my vision to life.
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