Friends of the Blind Get a “Touching” Experience

Friends of the Blind is a program connecting blind or low vision individuals with support, friendships, and meaningful cultural experiences.

Recently, several participants attended a performance of Murder On The Orient Express at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. The show is about a murder and the investigation that follows aboard a train, adapted from the very popular novel by Agatha Christie. Prior to the show, attendees took part in a Sensory Seminar led by Adele Meyer. The seminar provided excellent insight for clients who are blind or have low vision. Ms. Meyer gave a brief biography of Agatha Christie, a summary of the book as well as the two movies that were adapted from the book. Next, an overview of the ten main characters was provided. Following the character overview, an explanation of how the clues, evidence and investigation begins to unfold in the show. Without giving away any important plot points or twists, Ms. Meyer gave the audience members just enough information to better appreciate the story. Next, several costume items and props were shown. The conductor’s uniform, a woman’s jacket, a Fez hat, a cane and a train case were all examined by the attendees. We were also treated to an actor conducting her mic check in which she practiced her screams! Lastly, the scenery on the stage was described in detail including the sleeper car train as well as the dining car.

Jay Patel examines the buttons on the conductor’s uniform from the show.

Janet Zoubek Dickson, who provided the audio description, was also introduced to the audience. Audio description “allows patrons who are blind or have low vision to hear a live, objective and concise description of the action on the stage in between dialogue and/or music using an individual headset.” Paper Mill playhouse does an excellent job welcoming guests and providing accessible services for all of their shows.

The show was excellent! Although it was about a murder, several of the characters had farcical lines and mannerisms. There was a lot of laughter, and a great time was had by all. Long time Friends of the Blind client, Patty Coaker, said she had a great time and really enjoyed the show. Jay Patel also remarked that the audio description was very helpful for the show. The description included information such as “the train is moving from left to right, and Hercule Poirot is raising his hand”. The style and color of the costumes was also described.

Jay examines another prop from the show.

Friends of the Blind is funded in part by the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired and managed by Cornerstone Family Programs & Morristown Neighborhood House, a nonprofit organization with a mission of strengthening communities by helping people build better lives. The 200-plus year organization educates children and youth, empowers teens, and provides families, female veterans, the aging and their caregivers specialized support.

The FOB clients are provided education, training, resource referrals and connection with a carefully selected volunteer to provide help, companionship, and outing opportunities for recreational and cultural events.

Interested clients and volunteers should contact Program Coordinator Dina Glen @ 973-288-9237 or