As we draw nearer to the opening of How to lose sight, I thought it would be a good time to talk about the show and what I’ve learnt up to this point. Other than how capable the visually impaired actually are, that is. I used to believe that if I lost my sight, I would become an invalid, unable to perform the most basic of functions. I now think almost the opposite.
The interesting thing is that Michal, our fearless director keeps suggesting we close our eyes, because our peripheral vision has become far too acute to accurately portray a blind person in a place they don’t know. I’d like to suggest an alternative idea. I’m starting to become as capable of getting around the room with my eyes closed as with them open and using my peripheral vision. What I’d like to propose is that I am now more closely representing a blind person in her own home. Which was part of the original idea.
We’re not aiming for that, of course, so I’ll have to move the set around minimally to confuse myself, but it’s amazing how quickly the body manages to rebalance itself.
Something else that always surprises me (and it perhaps shouldn’t, but it always does) is that my brain seems to forget what people look like very easily. I spend a lot of time in close relationship scenes with Peter, and when we finish rehearsing, take a break or some such, I end up mildly surprised that I can see him, and intrigued as to what he looks like, because I have no idea what he looks like while we’re performing. What a trick! And this goes for everything and everyone.
Going home is often a treat. Not because I want to leave the house – I don’t think I could fully describe how much I’m enjoying the sense of exploration and play I get from the cast the director and the process. Going home is a treat because I appreciate my sense of sight more having not had it for so much of the day. Sitting on the train in the rain, raindrops become miracles, street lamps become fascinating and unusual. When I (finally) get home, being able to see my dog is incredible, rather than just touching or smelling or hearing. Being able to see the mischief she’s getting herself into while I potter around the kitchen is visually stimulating in a way I haven’t experienced during the day.
Incidentally, my golden retriever tries to take care of me when I seem ill or upset more so than when I’m fine. Perhaps I should suggest an additional cast member…a guide dog? Maybe for a remount.