They have never seen theatre and have no way of knowing how their expressions will translate on stage. Yet, getting into character is a way of therapy for the Anyadesh performers, who must feel what they cannot see.
She moves her hands over the contours of my face, through the length of my hair, over the curves of my shoulders. I let her feel the shape of my eyebrows, explore the texture of my skin…
“You’re beautiful,” she says.
“Beautiful with a big nose,” I laugh.
“Small and pretty,” she replies. “I can tell.”
I close my eyes and take her hand in mine. I try to wipe the image of her face from my mind and imagine the kind of person she is. Her hand feels warm. Her fingers are rough, her nails short. Is she naive and trusting or is she cynical about life, I attempt to determine. Does she get excited about little things like dancing in the rain? Is she a dog person or a cat person?
I can’t tell. I’m too dependent on my eyes to give me the first impression.
But without eyesight to guide her, Marzeena Khatun, 28, has only her instincts to rely on to get her through life.
CONTINUE READING. (Opens as a pdf.)