Review: The Eyes of the Night / Los ojos de la noche
Image: Cervantes Theatre
Life is full of moments of change that can pop up at anytime.
An unexpected encounter between an older woman, who supposedly has triumphed in life, and a young blind man who she has hired to spend a few hours in a hotel with can be the trigger for a new life.
Both will have to be able to open up and let themselves go with the flow …
There will be post show a Q&A at which the author Paloma Pedrero and the creative team will be present on 12th September (Spanish Performance) and 13th September (English Performance).
Stimulating and thought-provoking in pretty-much equal measure, this two-hander has a novel and interesting concept behind it that asks us to take a different view of life to resolve the difficult - sometimes seemingly unresolvable - issues that we might have to confront in our lives.
Essentially, the play is about perception or 'seeing'.
The plot revolves around two strangers who have been drawn together in a moment of desperation and despair - the kind of situation that many of us have faced when everything can feel like it's about to overwhelm us, or a definite crossroads has been reached.
The setting is a fairly stylish hotel room, complete with it's own balcony that gazes down on ant-like humans on the pavement way below.
A woman - who tells us in the latter moments that her name is Lucia - has paid a blind man, called Angel, to accompany her to this place.
Initially, it seems that she intends to use her companion as a kind of confessor, if that' an appropriate analogy.
Anyway, she wants to talk to him and for him to listen.
We assume that her intent is to explain (and thereby confront) the issues that are plaguing her and which have brought her to a pivotal moment in her life.
But if the intention was for the blind man to simply be a passive listener, Lucia has been confounded as Angel is not going to play the role she had in mind for him.
This pair of strangers are on opposing ends of the economic and success spectrums.
Lucia is a successful businesswoman whereas Angel is a poor lottery ticket seller.
From the relatively fleeting and sometimes conflicting messages Lucia provides for both the audience and her blind companion, we never really completely comprehend the exact nature and complexity of issues and emotions flooding through her brain.
She does tell us that she's "killed herself inside", but perhaps she doesn't actually have a complete fix on just what has brought her to this moment in her life, nor how she actually got there.
Director Simone Coxall exhorts laudable and highly watchable performances from both Lanna Joffrey as the desperate Lucia and visually impaired actor, Samuel Brewer, as Angel who seemingly cares little for money.
Critically, both playwright and director manage to make this unlikely confrontation work, which for some might initially appear contrived or even bordering on the hokey, given that the basic set-up involves a blind man enabling someone to 'see' in a different way.
But the well-contrasted performances are more than enough to satisfy and, in the end, to convince us of the validity of the conceptual approach.
And a final note ... as with most of the productions at this impressive venue, Paloma Pedrero's absorbing play can also be experienced in Spanish at different performances.
Links and related content
ActDrop listing for Cervantes Theatre
Our show listing for The Eyes of the Night / Los ojos de la noche
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