Joe Tantalo, the artistic director of Godlight Theater Company, has a knack for dystopian allegory. His adaptations of “A Clockwork Orange” in 2003 and “Fahrenheit 451” in 2006 were surprisingly sharp-edged, breathing vivid theatrical life into sprawling material on tiny stages...In Mr. Tantalo’s adaptation, the audience, seated on two opposing banks, watches the action through the white scrim walls of a cell-like space about 25 feet long and 10 feet wide. The milky obscurity constantly recalls the onset of the disease. This gauzy eeriness, along with the claustrophobia of 17 cast members moving about in such confinement, lends immediacy to the vulnerability, fear and desperation in the asylum...the acting is strong, particularly that of David Bartlett as an accountant turned thug.
Tapping into some of man’s deepest fears and almost visceral in its intensity, the Godlight Theatre Company presents a brilliant piece of theatre with the American premiere of Blindness, based on Jose Saramago’s Nobel Prize-winning novel—well-adapted and directed by Joe Tantalo...The entire cast is superb... standouts include Gregory Konow in a double role as the sadistic leader of the food hoarders and an almost robotic prison guard; Sam Whitten, (also doing double duty as a guard and criminal); and Alisa Burket as a call girl...Wonderful set and lighting by Maruti Evans.
Blindness, Joe Tantalo’s taut and disturbing play adapted from Jose Saramago’s novel, has been masterfully staged in a constricted, claustrophobic space that’s completely surrounded by a scrim...Maruti Evans is responsible for this remarkable, stark set, and also for the lighting...Andrew Recinos’s score and sound design contribute mightily to the mounting tension of the piece...memorable performances are Lawrence Jansen as the samaritan/thief, Michael Tranzili as one of the blind inmates, and Gregory Konow as the savage leader of the criminals who take over the asylum...This rendition of Blindness is thought-provoking and theatrically quite spectacular, notwithstanding the stark production and intimate venue. It’s certainly another affirmation of the excellence of Tantalo’s Godlight Theatre Company, which is one of indie theater’s most consistently adventurous and talented troupes.
Maruti Evans’ lighting in Godlight Theatre Company’s adaptation of Jose Saramago’s novel Blindness is brilliant. The audience enters the theatre on either side of a small rectangular space, approximately 10 feet by 20 feet, with two walls made of white scrim, in which actors pace. The simple, spare set, also designed by Maruti Evans, effectively shapes the play’s intention.
The actors give it their all, particularly Gregory Konow, playing the devilish head of the armed forces to jarring effect. The set and staging are effective – utilizing no props and relying solely on lighting to create space. The bare stage is surrounded by a thin white screen on all sides, giving the effect of seeing the characters through the same veil of white that infects them. Another strong point is the connection drawn to issues like Hurricane Katrina – playing real news audio from the catastrophe added a welcomed dimension to the theme.
Blindness, adapted for the theater by Joe Tantalo from the novel epónima of Jose Saramago, is a fascinating work in which the audience feel the same claustrophobia and terror and isolation as the characters. The original work of Saramago, that gained the Nobel prize in 1998, is lent perfectly for the theater, mainly in the present version directed with tremendous coldness by Mr. Tantalo...The performances of the seventeen actors is solid...Blindness is difficult to watch and to forget.
Less is More...Bloat is pervasive in mainstream theatre...look at James Lapine’s disastrous King Lear at the Public, for example, which literalizes and contemporarizes all the emotion out of the play; or at Jack O’Brien’s Coast of Utopia, where (admittedly dazzling) stagecraft and production values overpower Tom Stoppard’s writing, turning drama into spectacle...What would Lapine and O’Brien do if they only had Joe Tantalo’s budget? Tantalo, one of indie theater’s finest and most consistently inventive directors, engages theatregoers without a fancy and expensive bag of tricks, letting us use our imaginations to create a world for the play we’re seeing, instead of feeding us elaborate sets and costumes. He’s currently represented by Blindness, an original adaptation of Jose Saramago’s novel that he wrote himself...collaborating with set/lighting designer Maruti Evans, he creates a frightening asylum–which is being used to house the victims of an inexplicable epidemic of white blindness–with virtually nothing other than a bare stage, two scrims, and some lights. We in the audience are thus allowed to see exactly what the blind characters see–i.e., nothing–and therefore have to create the environment inside our heads; this brings us inexorably and actively into the play. Tantalo’s staging is almost certainly one of the reasons that I have not really been able to get Blindness out of my mind since I saw it on Sunday.