Blindness is at the very roots of Western drama — from its first, great masterpiece, OEDIPUS REX, to MOLLY SWEENEY. And, while literal blindness figures in both works, it is the metaphorical blindness that is intriguing. Long before Oedipus puts out his eyes, he has been blind to his surroundings. He cannot or will not “see” the reality around him.
This type of blindness, the inability to perceive or comprehend our own context, hunts in every play. In fact, at some point in every rehearsal process, I will ask the actors what it is their character is blind to, and it always provokes a deep response. So much of the actor’s process deals with the exploration of what their character knows or understands. It’s just as important to spend the time on what it is the character doesn’t know is incapable of knowing, refuses to know.
We are all plagued by bouts of blindness – where we fail to see: the love that our family, friends, colleagues have for us; the damage that we do to them; our true responsibilities; the way the world works, as opposed to the way we’d like it to work. All of these manifestations of blindness are present in MOLLY SWEENEY.
There is a related prejudice that informs MOLLY SWEENEY, both for the characters and the audience — the belief that the unsighted life is inferior. Brave Molly stands as a perfect repudiation of that prejudice.