BLIND NESS: The Irresistible Light of Encounter is a multidisciplinary theater work by Ping Chong and Michael Rohd about Belgium’s brutal colonial exploitation of the Congo in the 19th Century and its reverberations into the present. Using text, movement, performance and puppetry, BLIND NESS intercuts the dramatic narrative of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, told through shadow puppetry, with the real-life figures of King Leopold II of Belgium, who acquired the Belgian Congo as a personal colony, and courageous activists, such as Roger Casement, Edmund Dene Morel, William Sheppard and others, who orchestrated one of the first global mass-media human rights campaigns to reveal and stop his abuses.
Directors: Ping Chong and Michael Rohd
Writers: Ping Chong and Michael Rohd, developed in collaboration with Bobby Bermea, Jeff Randall, and Burke Walker
Choreography: Ping Chong
Sets/Lighting/Projection Design: Randy Ward
Sound Design: Steven Zapytowski
Costume Design: Stefani Mar
Puppetry: Stephen Kaplin
Stage Manager: Courtney Golden
Bobby Bermea, Jeff Randall, Michael Rohd, Burke Walker, Hollis Hayden Jr., Caleb Sekeres, Amanda Soden, Yolanda Davis, Kaitlyn Black, Angeline W. Burmeister, Grace Connolly, Leona Fabanich, Nick Horton, Ernie Gonzalez, David Jenkins, Terrell Richardson Jr., Jennifer Rose
Kent State University School of Theatre and Dance, Kent, OH (April 2004)
La MaMa ETC, New York, NY (June 2004)
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Commissioned by the School of Theater and Drama at Kent State University
BLIND NESS was produced by the Kent University School of Theatre & Dance in association with Ping Chong & Company with funds provided in part by National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation Multi Arts Production Program and the Jim Henson Foundation.