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Man of La Mancha

by Dale Wasserman
Lyrics by Joe Darion
Music by Mitch Leigh

"When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams - this may be madness."

These words, spoken by Cervantes as he transforms into his character of Don Quixote, for me, illuminate the heart of this musical. What actor cannot relate? What artist cannot relate? As I read, I played the soundtrack and I really felt transported into this world - the impending threat of judgement (and potentially death) from the Inquisition gives a dark background to an otherwise light play and keeps it from getting "cheesy." I loved the idea of an artist defending himself in the way he knows best - by presenting his story via 'charade.' There's something so sad, yet beautiful about Cervantes' journey throughout the play.. and how Don Quixote mirrors him, even in death. As Lettice says of her mother in Peter Shaeffer's play Lettice & Lovage, "she went as she always wished - in harness." Don Quixote dies just as his illusions of knighthood are re-inspired .. and we can only assume that if Cervantes is found guilty, he will pass having just relived his greatest creation.

What a fun, creative piece for a group of actors to imagine - it has the feel of an old trunk show -- a group of people throwing on a hat and becoming someone, then adding a shawl and becoming someone else. Very bare bones.. I love pieces like that because they invite the audience to give over and be imaginative as well.. everyone works together to create the reality.

Sunday Play-a-day: Blue Window by Craig Lucas

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