Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Man of La Mancha"

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note: entire contents copyright 2010 by Larry Stark


"Man of La Mancha"

Book by Dale Wasserman
Lyrics by Joe Darion
Music by Mitch Leigh

Directed by John MacKenzie
Musical Direction by Steve Black

Costume Design by Richard Itczak
Costume Construction by Richard Itczak & Kimmerie H. O. Jones
Lighting Design by John MacKenzie
Scenic Design by Michelle Boll/John MacKenzie
Sound Design by Alex Savitzky
Properties by Heather McQueen
Production Director Laura E. Smith
Rehearsal Stage Manager Robin Amendola
Production Stage Manager Chris Teague
Produced by Turtle Lane Playerrs II Inc.,
Doris Mitton, President

Cervantes/Don Quixote......James Fitzpatrick
Aldonza/Dulcinea................Tracy Nygard
Sancho Panza.......................Joe Berry
Captain........................Harry Rothman
Dr. Carrasco....................Kevin Cirone
Antonia Quijana.............Shonna McEachern
Housekeeper......................June Kfoury
Padre Parez......................Bob Vaneria

PRISONERS/PLAYERS
Governor/Innkeeper.................Tom Leahy
Maria/Inkeeper's Wife.........Colette Gagnon
Pedro.........................Craig McKerley
Anselmo/Horse/Guard..............Ryan Garvin
Jose/Moor/Guitarrist.............Emile Colon
Paco/Barber/Moor.................Cliff Blake
Tenorio/Moor/Guard.............Tom Ostrowski
Fermina/Horse/Moor/Inquisitor....Emma Putnam
Isabella/Horse/Moor.............Joelle Kross
Horse.........................Robin Amendola
Antonio........................Rich Williams

Keyboard.............Steve Black
Trumpet.........Cristopher Hawes
Percussion............Seth Botos
Trombone...........Douglas Weeks
Guitar.................Tom Young
French Horn.........Howard Boles
Reeds................Ray Taranto
Oboe...........Elizabeth England
Conductor............Steve Black

Miguel de Cervantes wrote his big, beautiful novel about the time Shakespeare was writing plays, and its enduring message has not only endured, but taken on the simplified truth of legend. In the musical that Dale Wasserman, Darion and Mitch Leigh built out of this material, the novelist-playmaker must stage his work as a play to save it from the flames of ignorance.

In the book the earthy contrast to Quixote's romanticism is his simple squire Sancho Panza. In "Man of La Mancha" however --- at least in the production at Auburndale's Turtle Lane Playhouse --- the conflict is much more obviously with a whore named Aldonza. Tracy Nygard, fists on hips, contradicts this "knight of the woeful countenance" (James Fitzpatrick) as he tries to transform her into "Dulcinea" --- his virginal lady love. When, accepting his ethereal view of reality, she attempts to minister to the wounds of the ruffians he has bested in combat, she is gruffly gang-raped for her pains. And even then Aldonza, and the audience, end the play insisting on the need for "An Impossible Dream".

Designer/Director John MacKenzie stages this conflict within his co-designer Michelle Boll's gray-black stone walls of an inquisition prison. The inmates, eager to improvise roles in this story as a diversion, are all in rags that costumers Richard Itczak and Kimmerie H. O. Jones have enlivened with occasional flashes of bright color here and there. Characters emerge briefly from the chorus, then disappear. Quixote's scandalized family and priest (Bob Vaneria) represent repressive "reality" --- but it is a cruel "Mirror-knight" (Kevin Cirone) insisting upon "truth" that brings on the death that even windmills could not deal.

Love,
===Anon.
( a k a larry stark )

"Man of La Mancha" (19 February - 14 March)
TURTLE LANE PLAYHOUSE
238 Melrose Street, AUBURNDALE MA
1(617)244-0169

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