“MURDER IN BAKER STREET” by Judd Woldin (2002)
3 Images of scenes from the play
Jerry Lee, and George Ashiotis
George Ashiotis, Jerry Lee, and Nicholas Viselli
George Ashiotis, Melanie Boland, Nicholas Viselli, Richard Simon, Gary Bergman, Michael Dee, and Jerry Lee Photos by Carol Rosegg
“An elegant, lively melodrama. … Theater By The Blind is quite simply one of the most enjoyable companies in the country.” -- Donald Lyons, New York Post
“Sightlessness is a quality that actors are often called upon to play, but rarely to play with, so even beyond the question of its theatrical art, the Theater By The Blind is of inherent interest for its theatrical problem solving. And watching the company, which was founded in 1979 and includes sighted performers as well as those with varying degrees of visual impairment, is a particularly valuable enterprise for what it reveals about acting and the eyes. … As jovially staged by Ike Schambelan, the company's co-artistic director with George Ashiotis, who plays Holmes, it is full of moments designed to defy expectations of blind performers.
At the center of the play, however, Mr. Ashiotis does an impressive turn in a role whose difficulty is made evident by what are bound to be nightly mishaps. He cuts a dapper figure as Holmes and has an agreeable vocal way with the stylish loquacity of the detective's deductive reasoning.
Perhaps most remarkably in one particular scene when he stands in the witness box at a hearing and faces the audience dead on, his gray eyes manage to be expressive even though they evidently do not function otherwise.
The memory needs to hold precise distances, step counts, time lapses. The physical certainty of the sighted actor, gleaned from palpable knowledge of the physical world, has to be simulated by a blind performer and based on faith. And perhaps most important the connection with other performers onstage has to be intuited. For that reason, the triumph of the Theater by the Blind is completely evident each time two actors turn to each other and, amazingly, their eyes meet.” -- Bruce Weber, The New York Times