Deafman Glance

By Robert Wilson

Music by Alan Lloyd, Igor Demjen, and others

Performed by Robert Wilson, Raymond Andrews, Sheryl Sutton and The Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds

First performed on December 15, 1970 at the Center for New Performing Arts, Iowa City, Iowa

Subsequent performances on February 25, 1971 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, New York, on April 22, 1971 at the Grand Théâtre de Nancy, Nancy, France, on April 27, 1971 at the Premio Roma Festival, Rome, Italy, on June 11, 1971 at the Théâtre de la Musique, Paris, France, and on July 6, 1971 at the Holland Festival, Amsterdam, Netherlands


Inspired in part by Wilson’s important friendship with a deaf boy named Raymond Andrews, whom he adopted as his son, the mostly silent work was constructed of fantastical scenes composed purely of performed images.  This was not performance that resulted in images, but images that, essentially, called for performance.

The world of a deaf child opened up to us like a wordless mouth. For more than four hours, we went to inhabit this universe where, in the absence of words, of sounds, sixty people had no words except to move…I never saw anything more beautiful in the world since I was born. Never never has any play come anywhere near this one, because it is at once life awake and the life of closed eyes, the confusion between everyday life and the life of each night, reality mingles with dream, all that’s inexplicable in the life of deaf man…Never as here, from a dark hole in the theater, have I ever experienced the feeling, in confronting the spectacle of Robert Wilson, that if ever the world finally changes, and ceases to be this hell ones sees at the end of almost four hours on the stage, and it is the hell where is the slag pit and the mine, that if ever the world changes and men become like the dancer I spoke of, free, free,’s through freedom man will have changed. Freedom, radiant freedom of the soul and the body.
— Louis Aragon, Lettre ouverte à André Breton, June 2, 1971