There’s none as blind as they won’t see.
But love is blind, and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies they commit themselves to.
Shakespeare (Merchant of Venice)
Don’t Fool With Love / The Blind Men
Written by Alfred de Musset / Michel de Ghelderode
Translated by Declan Donnellan
Performed in English
On ne Badine pas avec L’amour, or Don’t Fool with Love, was first performed in Paris on 18 November 1861, in a version which eliminated most of the play’s language that was deemed to be ‘irreligious.’ It was not until 8 January 1923 that Musset’s original text was reinstated by the French National Theatre.
Eighteen-year-old Camille has returned from the convent where the nuns have taught her to mistrust men. Perdican, having recently received his PhD, returns to his father’s home. The childhood friends, separated for over ten years, meet again in the Baron’s castle. The Baron decides that it is certain that the young pair shall marry.
Yet, it is not love that dominates this play, it is pride. Love is overshadowed in Musset’s drama of secrecy, abandonment and separation and, in its place, lies vanity, anger and tragedy. Mussett’s play dramtises the risks and penalties that await those who meddle in the affairs of the heart without considering the consequences, bringing its audience to a shattering and fatal conclusion…
The Blind Men was written by the most powerful Belgian playwright of the inter-war years. Haunted by death, god and the erotic, Michel de Ghelderode’s work is similar to that of the playwrights of the Theatre of Cruelty and of the Absurd.
Les Aveugles, or The Blind Men, was written in French and was first performed in Paris in July 1956. His plays are based on the Bible, folklore and history, and his work is frequently set in medieval Flanders.
The play was inspired by the work of the Belgian artist Pieter Breughel, whose painting ‘The Parable of the Blind Men’ (1568), with its sorrowful tone and depiction of six blind men leading each other, was described by Ghelderode as having left him ‘…with so intense a recollection that after many years, in 1933, I transported this touching pictorial anecdote to the theatre, in a few short hours and with great ease.’
Produced by Cheek by Jowl. The first performances were given at the Arts Centre, University of Warwick on 17th Feburary 1993.
“…wonderfully light and fluid…Donnellan and Ormerod create an unencumbered atmosphere in which the pantomimic and the piercing tumble over each other.”The Independent
|David Foxxe||Father Blasius / De Witte|
|Anne White||Dame Pluche|
|Colin McFarlane||The Baron / Den Os|
|Brian Pettifer||Father Bridlaine / De Strop|
|Michael Sheen||Perdican / Lamprido|
|Composer and MD||Paddy Cunneen|
|Movement Director||Jane Gibson|
|Lighting Designer||Judith Greenwood|
|Voice Coach||Patsy Rodenburg|
|Fight Director||John Waller|
|Assistant to the Director||Lucy Astor|
|Company Stage Manager||Tom Albu|
|Deputy Stage Manager||Michele Enright|
|Assistant Stage Manager||Becca Clay|
|Wardrobe Manager||Alistair McArthur|
|Date (first performance)||Location||No. of performances|
|20 April 1993||London, Donmar Warehouse, UK||27|
|16 April 1993||Leiden, Leidse Schouwburg, Holland||1|
|15 April 1993||Amsterdam, Stadsschouwburg, Holland||1|
|15 April 1993||Groningen, Stadsschouwburg, Holland||1|
|10 April 1993||Bergen Op Soom, Schouwburg De Maggd, Holland||1|
|8 April 1993||Utrecht, Stadsschouwburg, Holland||1|
|7 April 1993||Den Bosch, Schouwburg Het Casino, Holland||1|
|6 April 1993||Venlo, Cultural Centre de Maasport, Holland||1|
|5 April 1993||Arnhem, Stadsschouwberg, Holland||1|
|30 March 1993||Hexham, Queens Hall Arts Centre, UK||5|
|23 March 1993||Bury St Edmunds, Theatre Royal, UK||5|
|16 March 1993||Worthing, Connaught Theatre, UK||6|
|9 March 1993||Winchester, Theatre Royal, UK||6|
|23 February 1993||Cambridge, Cambridge Arts Centre, UK||6|
|17 February 1993||Coventry, Warwick Arts Centre, UK||4|
“Wonderfully light and fluid…Donnellan and Ormerod create an unencumbered atmosphere in which the pantomimic and the piercing tumble over each other.”The Independent