Why Watch Touching The Void
A memoir written by mountaineer Joe Simpson in 1985, Touching the Void recounts his disastrous and nearly fatal, albeit successful scaling of the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. The book has gone to sell more than a million copies and has been translated to over 20 languages. The book was turned into a documentary fifteen years later and won the Best British Film award at the 2003 BAFTAs. The book was adapted to the stage by David Greig, and wonderfully captures the harrowing experience of the two climbers.
Greig’s writing is impeccable, and the play is gripping throughout, and the audience is guaranteed to be on the edge of their seats. Incredibly, he also finds humour amidst the horror. The lighting design by Chris Davey and set design has been praised for its ability to embody the dangers of mountaineering very well. The director, Tom Morris, who is also the Artistic director of the Bristol Old Vic, adds his unique style to the show, and the morbid atmosphere creates such tension that the audience might forget to breathe!
Joe Simpson and Simon Yates have successfully scaled the Siula Grande peak in the South American Andes. They have ascended the previously unclimbed West Face of the mountain. While descending, Simpson slips down a cliff and lands awkwardly, breaking his right leg. The climb had already been delayed as a result of bad weather, and they had run out of fuel to melt the ice for drinking water. Daylight is fading quickly and bad weather is rapidly closing in on them, as they attempt to descend to the glacier that is located nearly 3000 feet below.
The pair decide to tie two 150-feet long ropes together to make a 300 feet long rope, with the hope of lowering Simpson down the North Ridge. The knot, however, would not be able to pass through the belay plate that is used to lower oneself. With the storm worsening, the two mountaineers are unable to hear or communicate with each other. Yates is faced with a dilemma, and he must make an incredibly difficult decision to save their lives. Follow Simpson and Yates as they attempt to emerge from this agonizing and perilous situation. Will both Simpson and Yates emerge victorious in this physical and mental battle against the odds?
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