The 400th anniversary of Cervantes’ death is commemorated by many events devoted to the outstanding Spanish writer. Angus Jackson’s play Don Quixote is another great adaptation of the famous novel. The gap between the desired and the actual as well as the crash of illusions are always relevant, so this topic was once again explored on stage. Thanks to the play, such great theatre actors like David Threlfall and Rufus Hound returned to the place where they had started their career. The performance was impressive due to the variety of costumes, decorations and music.
Throughout the play, desperate Don Quixote is fighting windmills and his other ghosts, and every situation has a comic effect on the audience, there are many jokes and satirical elements. However, at the end of the play, his true character reveals itself in the dying monologue. This episode is one of the most memorable in the play.
The beginning of Don Quixote is very catching; it is able to bring all attention to the stage. Later, the characters talk to the audience many times, which makes this play interactive and entertaining.
Angus Jackson succeeds in highlighting the contrast between the two main characters. Don Quixote (played by David Threlfall) is romantic, dreamy and attempts to embellish the world around him or fight those who harm other people. At the same time, Sancho Panza (Rufus Hound) is a mundane farmer who is mostly interested in material gain. The conflicts between the heroes are quite expressive and demonstrate the difference in their characters in a convincing way. Besides, even the horse Rocinante and Panza’s donkey are played by actors, which makes the performance look even more comic and absurd.
There is nothing excessive in the play – all words and songs are important for the plot. It is needed to mention that Don Quixote is rather talking than singing, which can be a demonstration of the fact that he considers his fantasy to be real life. The second part is quite dramatic. The dreams of Don Quixote become an object of cruel ridicule. Even Sancho deceives him. When he and Don Quixote meet three village girls, he tells that one of them is Dulcinea and the other two are her maids. When Don Quixote sees only rural girls in front of him, Sancho Panza insists that he is under a cruel curse that prevents him from seeing the truth. When Sancho finally gets his governorship on the island, he suddenly discovers great ability, but this does not prevent the disaster. The novel ends with a complete abdication of Don Quixote’s illusions. He sadly returns to normal live and eventually dies.
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The conflict between the ideal and reality in the play is shown by the protagonist’s unsuccessful attempts to do good things and to establish justice. A lone knight-errant Don Quixote, who is filled with good intentions, is not sitting around and trying to do good things. However, nothing could be changed for the better in the world.
As it was already mentioned, the actors’ performance and music were on the highest level. The decorations were both realistic and extraordinary in order to express the illusory nature of things which the main character saw.
Except many positive aspects, the play had some drawbacks. For example, in some moments it was hard to focus on one thing, because there were a lot of characters and scenery on the stage at the same time. Nevertheless, the whole performance made a lasting impression, so the work of the director and actors should be highlighted. The play will be interesting to viewers of all ages, especially to those who appreciate the novel Don Quixote.