Drama. BLIND WITNESS brings together three libretti written in the early 1990s by poet Charles Bernstein for composer Ben Yarmolinsky. Bernstein & Yarmolinsky's trilogy combines vernacular American lyrics with vernacular social forms. 'Blind Witness News' uncannily mimics the format of the eleven o'clock evening news with segments for international and local news, weather, business news, and sports. Then, as now, war sets the dark undertone. "The Subject"—at times elegiac, at times parodic—sets a psychoanalytic session to music. "The Lenny Paschen Show" focuses on Lenny, the Kamikaze King of Comedy, a late night talk show host at the edge of his career, pushing his schtick to the limit.When "Blind Witness News" was first performed in 1990, Allan Kozinn of The New York Times wrote: "Mr. Bernstein's libretto catches with near perfection the stock verbal moves—the forced laughter, empty banter, catch-phrases and cutesy segues—in which television news reports are cushioned."
Charles Bernstein is a prominent member of the Language poets, and the author of 40 books, ranging from large-scale collections of poetry and essays, to pamphlets, libretti, translations, and collaborations. He is currently the Donald T. Regan Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is co-founder of PennSound.