Blind’s Cane


The discovery of Pedro Nunes

Pedro Nunes was the chief-cosmographer of the kingdom, tutor of the princes D. Luis, D. Henrique and D. Duarte, and had some creative ideas about navigation which not always have been well received by those with the practical task of sailing. In his own words: “And I am so scrupulous mixing scientific terms and concepts with common rules of the art of sailing, which makes the sailors mock me (…)”.

This gap between the theoretical propositions of Pedro Nunes to navigation and the Portuguese sailors of the time, along with the comments of the latter, were surely subject of his reflection, as we can read in one of his writings: “I do know how badly pilots regard those who speak about India never having been there, and those who practice on the sea never having entered it (…)”

This conflict between the theoretical advances, that introduce new ideas, and the practice of navigation, is one of the issues addressed in Blind’s Cane. Deep within, these are the two faces of the same coin – the impetuous will which makes mankind progress.

This bias aside (between Pedro Nunes and the Portuguese practice of navigation), this mathematician was a mandatory reference in Europe throughout the XVIth and XVIIth centuries. With international correspondents and recognition, this “creative mathematician”, as some call him, and his ideas, travelled and influenced renascence’s Europe. This was another kind of navigation, the navigation of ideas, through which Pedro Nunes got himself noticed in science. And wrote his name on the moon.



Action begins in the XVIth century. European context is of renascence. The ancient Greek books are rediscovered and so are the world and life, based upon that knowledge. Together with this discovery of the past, Portugal and Spain are committed in discovering the future – they broaden frontiers.

The Portuguese mathematician holds in one hand the rope connected to classic antiquity, and in the other a rope connected to the discovery of new lands, new people, new cultures, and ties them in a knot. Unites the past with the future and theory with practice.

But that union is not peaceful…

Blind’s Cane – the discovery of Pedro Nunes premièred on November 18th, 2006 in Teatro Académico de Gil Vicente and was also presented on the 20th and the 21st. It was presented later in Aveiro, in Estaleiro Teatral, between December 6th and 8th.



Text and direction: Mário Montenegro | Direction assistant: Alexandre | Discussion and ideas: Alexandre, Anabela Fernandes, José Nunes, Mário Montenegro, Nelson Rodrigues, Pedro Andrade, Pedro Pires Pinto, Raquel Guerrero, Rui Capitão e Rui Simão | Performed by: Anabela Fernandes, José Nunes, Pedro Pires Pinto, Mário Montenegro e Raquel Guerrero | Stage design, costume, props and image: Pedro Andrade | Lighting: Rui Simão | Original soundtrack: Rui Capitão | Photography: Francisca Moreira | Hairstyling: Carlos Gago – Ilídio Design | Sewing: Fátima Lemos | Scientific consultant: Carlota Simões | Pre-production: Nelson Rodrigues | Executive production: Alexandre

Production: MARIONET 2006



Ministério da Cultura | Instituto das Artes | Teatro Académico de Gil Vicente | Reitoria da Universidade de Coimbra | M.A.F.I.A. – federação cultural de Coimbra | INATEL – delegação de Coimbra | Departamento de Matemática da F.C.T.U.C. | Ilídio Design – cabeleireiros | Carlo Viscontti – Aveiro | Ru( – rádio universidade de Coimbra



A.P.P.A.C.D.M., A.P.P.C. – N.R.C., Camaleão – Associação Cultural, Direcção Regional de Educação do Centro, EFÉMERO – Companhia de Teatro de Aveiro, Fátima Lemos, Maria João Feio, república “Rosa Luxemburgo”, R. Simão, Sociedade Portuguesa de Matemática, Teatro Nacional de S. João.