THE WHITE PLAGUE / ΠΕΡΙ ΤΥΦΛΟΤΗΤΟΣ
Written/Directed by Alexander Raptotasios
BIOS, Athens 2017
Landor Space, London 2018
2020 Tour in the UK, Germany and Denmark
The White Plague is an immersive new play, created for flexible studio spaces, about an epidemic of blindness that devastates a country and forces the government of a big city to quarantine all those who have been infected. We follow the stories of five strangers that meet each other in a quarantined hospital and have to fight for their survival. The audience is absolutely at the centre of the performance, following the characters on their journey, and shares in the characters’ predicament by experiencing it through every sense except their sight. The play has been presented in Athens and London and has achieved excellent reviews and a series of sold-out performances. In 2020 The White Plague will be touring in England (supported by the Arts Council England), Germany (English Theatre Berlin - EXPO Festival) and Denmark (Copenhagen Theatre Festival - House of International Theatre)
★★★★★ "A dystopian immersive masterpiece – UNMISSABLE!" (ToDoList London)
A man suddenly goes blind while driving his car. Someone will help him to a doctor but soon he will go blind too. This is the beginning of a mysterious virus creating a state of white blindness that spreads among a major city's population with no apparent explanation. The fear that spreads along with the virus casts the infected as second-class citizens and the government, in panic, quickly isolates the infected in unprepared and inaccessible facilities. Based on Jose Saramago’s BLINDNESS, The White Plague follows the stories of five infected people who are thrown together and left to survive within an inhumane quarantine facility. Basic needs and the communication between the factions that are created becomes a struggle. Whoever gains control of the food distribution will be in control of the population. In the midst of discrimination and exploitation, a woman will try to lead this group of survivors to freedom. The play is a testament to the power of community and an exploration of the brightest and darkest aspects of human nature. It is a vital story to tell in today's climate of social division and political scaremongering.
The actors engage with the audience from the start, assigning them identities as the characters in the story. The story begins as a narration in a foyer, bar or other space, but then the space transforms into a nightclub that is soon quarantined by armed forces. Audience members are given special masks that reduce their vision to a block of white light, and they are guided to the main space where they are seated as if they have been assigned beds in a hospital dormitory. The rest of the performance takes place around them and is comprised of live scenes, amplified narration, smells released into the space and live sound effects. By the time their vision is restored and the participants take the masks off, a new small community will have been created between the performers and the audience.
"A dystopian immersive masterpiece – UNMISSABLE!" (ToDoList London)
"A very interesting and enjoyable theatrical experience that will stay with you for a long time." (London Theatre 1)
"...bold in its experimentation with the immersive form, playing with many of the senses including sight, sound, and smell. This is a company who clearly work well together as an ensemble and have a strong understanding of non-visual storytelling...a production worth seeing.”
(London Pub Theatres)
- National Newspaper Avgi: «A strange and different show. A peculiar condition of blindness that feels weird but soon proves to be effective in immersing us in the character's psyche and living conditions.”
- Art Harbour: "...a well-structured, dense and inspired piece of theatre that contains the reality of the human tragedy through the loss of identity and basic human rights."
- Provocateur.gr: “I was extremely impressed by what I experienced. It completely immerses you in a world that seems strange and feels depressingly familiar. It gives an incredible new perspective on a story first conceived by Saramago and definitely rewards its audience.
Directed and Written by Alexander Raptotasios / Designed by Marie-Cecil Inglessi / Associate Directors: Vicky Kyriakoulakou (Greek version) and Esther Fernandez (UK version) / Dramaturges: Isabella Margara (Greek version), Gul Y. Davies and Or Ben Ezra (UK version) / Poster and Photos by Simona Zemaityte / Trailer by Aris Georgiou
2020 Touring Cast: Vicky Kyriakoulakou, Alex Kiffin, Gil Sutherland, Samuel Mattioli and Lilian Tsang