The question in the headline is what inspired leading Spanish playwright Paloma Pedrero to write her new play The Eyes of the Night, about a businesswoman’s revelatory encounter with a blind man. We talked to her about the two-hander ahead of its world premiere next week at London’s Cervantes Theatre. Time to get booking!
The Eyes of the Night runs at the Cervantes Theatre from 11 to 28 September 2019, with a press night on Friday 13 September, including a post-show Q&A with the English cast chaired by MyTheatreMates founder Terri Paddock.
The two-hander, written by internationally renowned Spanish playwright Paloma Pedrero, translated by Catherine Boyle, receives a full production this year following a successful dramatised reading last year as part of the Cervantes’ inaugural Contemporary Spanish Playwriting Season.
The Eyes of the Night is a complex and beautiful play that reveals the deepest desires and fears of a middle-aged businesswoman who, with the help of a blind man, will need to experience the darkness in order to see the light.
Life is full of moments of change that can pop up at anytime. An unexpected encounter between a businesswoman, who supposedly has triumphed in life, and a blind man who she’s just met and asked to spend a few hours in a hotel with her can be the trigger for a new life. Both will have to be able to open up and let themselves experience the darkness in order to see the light…
Talking to… Paloma Pedrero
One of Spain’s leading living playwrights, Paloma Pedrero has written over 30 plays and been translated into some twenty languages. Part of the Cachivache acting company after the reinstatement of the Madrid theatre following the death of Franco, Pedrero’s first play, La llamada de Lauren, in which she also appeared, opened in 1985. She hasn’t stopped writing or acting since. Her other best-known plays include Resguardo personal (1985), Besos de lobo (1986), El color de agosto (1987), Noches de amor efímero (1987), Una estrella (1990), Locas de amar (1994), En el túnel un pájaro (1997), Beso a beso (2005), Caídos del cielo (2008) and Androide mío (2010).
What was your original inspiration for The Eyes of the Night?
The Eyes of the Night is born from a question: what do we, women, leave behind in our fight to realise our desires and to fight for equality? In a world made by and for men, we – independent, assertive women – leave fragments of our skin, even our heart behind in the struggle. It is so difficult being constrained to play “away from home”, talk a language that it is not our own, and react with a level of violence that, I am convinced, does not belong to us, women.
And so, we women, when we have achieved our professional goals or certain social recognition, have to leave our partner, or at least our traditional partner, the (still) majority of men who cling to the patriarchal system. Those who still need to dominate, to be the centre, to have power and who cannot cope with a non-submissive woman.
How closely did you work with translator Catherine Boyle?
Catherine and I have kept in touch. I must admit that she has not needed my help. She is a brilliant translator and has captured the essence of The Eyes of the Night.
How do you feel about the play being premiered now in London?
I am very pleased. I am convinced that both the English and the Spanish version are going to be a great success. I love both casts, the direction, and from what I have seen of the rehearsal photos, it looks like a very powerful production.
Also, I believe it is a great idea that the male actors, as is the character, are visually impaired. They will be able to show that they can give the best of themselves on stage. In my opinion, the only thing that limits you onstage is a lack of honesty, sensitivity or dedication and that’s not the case here.
What’s special about the Cervantes Theatre?
The Cervantes is a miracle in the middle of London. Jorge de Juan and Paula Paz have launched a project that, though difficult, is also necessary. It is very important to keep knocking down barriers even as they keep appearing in front of you. Theatre is a deep form of communication, because, in theatre, the universal language is poetic and therefore inclusive. It is in theatre where we realise how similar we are. The arts world is a meeting point and this is what makes the Cervantes Theatre.
Which other plays of yours do you think London audiences should see next?
I wouldn’t want to choose one in particular. My play Ana el once de Marzo was also performed in London as well as a dramatised reading of En la otra habitación and some others at some universities. The most important thing is that plays get translated and that they reach directors and theatre companies. That’s how playwrights have a chance to become known.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I always like to say thank you because I am aware of the great effort that a theatre production entails and even more so one with these characteristics. So, thank you to the director and to the Cervantes Theatre team and, of course, the audience who come to see The Eyes of the Night. I think darkness can be revealing.
The Eyes of the Night (Los ojos de la noche) runs from 11 to 28 September 2019 at the Cervantes Theatre, Arch 26, Old Union Arches, 229 Union Street, London SE1 0LR, with 7.30pm performances, in Spanish on Wednesdays and Thursdays, in English on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets priced £15-£25. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!