Don’t Fool With Love / The Blind Men

Don’t Fool With Love /
The Blind Men

Written by Alfred de Musset / Michel de Ghelderode
Translated by Declan Donnellan
Performed in English
1993

Don’t Fool with Love 

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

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
Cast and creative team

Cast

NameCharacter
David FoxxeFather Blasius / De Witte
Anne WhiteDame Pluche
Colin McFarlaneThe Baron / Den Os
Brian PettiferFather Bridlaine / De Strop
Michael SheenPerdican / Lamprido
Maria MilesCamille
Pooky QuesnelRosette
Patrick BridgmanPeasant

Creative Team

RoleName
DirectorDeclan Donnellan
DesignerNick Ormerod
Composer and MDPaddy Cunneen
Movement DirectorJane Gibson
Lighting DesignerJudith Greenwood
Voice CoachPatsy Rodenburg
Fight DirectorJohn Waller
Assistant to the DirectorLucy Astor
Company Stage ManagerTom Albu
Deputy Stage ManagerMichele Enright
Assistant Stage ManagerBecca Clay
Wardrobe ManagerAlistair McArthur
Previous performances

Previous Performances

Date (first performance)LocationNo. of performances
20 April 1993London, Donmar Warehouse, UK27
16 April 1993Leiden, Leidse Schouwburg, Holland1
15 April 1993Amsterdam, Stadsschouwburg, Holland1
15 April 1993Groningen, Stadsschouwburg, Holland1
10 April 1993Bergen Op Soom, Schouwburg De Maggd, Holland1
8 April 1993Utrecht, Stadsschouwburg, Holland1
7 April 1993Den Bosch, Schouwburg Het Casino, Holland1
6 April 1993Venlo, Cultural Centre de Maasport, Holland1
5 April 1993Arnhem, Stadsschouwberg, Holland1
30 March 1993Hexham, Queens Hall Arts Centre, UK5
23 March 1993Bury St Edmunds, Theatre Royal, UK5
16 March 1993Worthing, Connaught Theatre, UK6
9 March 1993Winchester, Theatre Royal, UK6
23 February 1993Cambridge, Cambridge Arts Centre, UK6
17 February 1993Coventry, Warwick Arts Centre, UK4
Reviews

Reviews

“Wonderfully light and fluid…Donnellan and Ormerod create an unencumbered atmosphere in which the pantomimic and the piercing tumble over each other.”

The Independent
Production photo
Photograph: John Haynes
Production photo
Photograph: John Haynes

There’s none as blind as they won’t see.

Johnathan Swift

But love is blind, and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies they commit themselves to.

Shakespeare (Merchant of Venice)

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