Man of LaMancha -- A Musical of Imagination and Inspiration
Open Friday, August 11
8/10/2017 ~ by Nan Nawrocki
The stories of the mad knight-errant, Don Quixote, are not taught much these days. Tater Patch Players' upcoming production of Man of LaMancha, written by Dale Wasserman with music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion, brings some of these tales to the stage. The musical begins with Miguel de Cervantes, an aging and failed poet and playwright, being thrown into a dungeon by the Inquisition. There he is dragged before a kangaroo court of his fellow prisoners, who plan to confiscate his few possessions—including the uncompleted manuscript of his novel, Don Quixote.
Cervantes, seeking to save the manuscript, proposes his defense in the form of a play. The "court" agrees, and Cervantes and his manservant don make-up and costumes, transforming themselves into mad knight Don Quixote and his ever-faithful squire, Sancho Panza. They then play out the story with the prisoners taking the roles of other characters. So what you will see is a whimsical play within a play, with the grim reality of the Inquisition rearing its frightening head from time to time.
Quixote and Sancho take to the road in a quest to restore the age of chivalry, battle all evil, and right all wrongs. The famous battle with the windmill follows, with Quixote blaming his defeat on his imaginary enemy, the Great Enchanter. The battered knight travels to a roadside inn. There he sees Aldonza, the inn's serving girl and part-time prostitute, being propositioned by a gang of mule drivers. But Quixote see only the dream-ideal lady he wishes to serve forever. He insists her name is Dulcinea which angers the proud Aldonza. Their different views of the world frame the rest of the story.
Two of Cervantes' "characters", a padre and Dr. Carrasco, arrive at the inn and are frustrated by Quixote's lunatic logic. They are interrupted by the arrival of an itinerant barber. Quixote confiscates his shaving basin, believing it is the "Golden Helmet of Mambrino". This convinces the Doctor that they must take strong steps to "cure" Quixote. Later that evening Aldonza encounters Quixote in the courtyard where he is holding vigil, in preparation for being knighted by the innkeeper. She questions him on his seemingly irrational ways , and Quixote answers her with a statement of his beliefs in the timeless song "The Impossible Dream". Aldonza catches the fever of Quixote's idealism but while attempting to put it into practice, is cruelly beaten and ravaged by the muleteers.
Later that night, Quixote encounters the disillusioned Aldonza who sings her denunciation of Quixote's dream in the dramatic "Aldonza". The Knight of the Mirrors enters and defeats Quixote by forcing him to see himself as "naught but an aging fool." The knight then reveals himself as Dr. Carrasco who has "cured" him. Cervantes' tale has ended here, but the prisoners demand that he finish the story quickly, as the Inquisition has summoned Cervantes to trial. Cervantes once again assumes the role of the mad knight to perform a poignant ending to the story. As the play ends, the prisoners, inspired by his tale, return Cervantes manuscript to him as he ascends from the dungeon to meet whatever fate has in store for him.
Please come share Tater Patch Players' "Impossible Dream" on August 11, 12, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, and 27. The Sunday shows are at 2PM and all others are at 7:30PM. We would like our patrons to know that, while this is an inspiring and often funny story, there are some darker scenes that may not be appropriate for younger audience members. Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and $14 for students and may be bought in advance, to insure the best seats, at www.taterpatchplayers.org. Questions or comments may be directed to email@example.com or phoned in to 706-253-2800.