UCI Drama Presents: Man of La Mancha
Claire Trevor’s Drama Department will commence its 2015-16 season themed “Care, Cure and Corruption” with the first production, “Man of La Mancha.” This will mark the department’s first production in the Barclay Theater in over five years.
The show is based off Dale Wasserman’s musical adaptation of Miguel De Cervantes’s novel, “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha.”
“Man of La Mancha is an awesome show to open the season because it not only deals with the larger themes of care, cure and corruption, but it really presents a human element to it — in terms of how [care, cure and corruption] affects an individual.” said fourth year PhD student Leticia Garcia, dramaturg (a theatrical researcher and adviser) for Man of La Mancha.
Sticking with last year’s “Love, Lust and Greed” theme’s collaborative efforts with the School of Law and the Criminology department, “Care, Cure and Corruption” will attempt to foster campuswide unity by partnering with the Medical School for a variety of shows.
“La Mancha’s” main character, Don Quixote, sees the best in all people, and never abandons his goals despite longshot odds and the knowledge that he may fail.
“The character of Don Quixote, who really undergoes one bad thing after another, and no matter what happens to him, or no matter how often people make fun of him … still believes in himself, and is able to teach other people in the play the significance of what it means to care, to provide comfort … and to avoid corruption.” elaborated Garcia.
The play comprises two acts with a 15 minute intermission in between. Failed playwright, poet and tax collector Miguel de Cervantes is imprisoned by the Spanish Inquisition for offenses against the church, and is tried before a kangaroo court of prison inmates who plan to take all his possessions if he’s found guilty — including Cervantes’ unfinished manuscript, “Don Quixote”. Cervantes offers his defense in the form of a play, and he, along with his manservant, take on the roles of Quixote and his squire, Sancho Panza. From there, the man of La Mancha’s story unfolds.
Through the lense of a play within a play, we alternatively see the prisoners’ stories as they contend with the Inquisition, and then the story of Don Quixote’s unbreakable spirit pitted against a world salivating for his downfall.
As the name suggests, “Man of La Mancha” takes place in La Mancha, Spain. The cast has undergone meticulous cultural training and dialect work to preserve the play’s authenticity. From the props, to the costumes, to the accent, the play strives to maintain the authenticity of Habsburg Spain in its entirety.
Significant work was put into the set, also in an effort to give cultural credibility to the production. The costumes, set and props were made in-house at the school of the arts. The stone and mortar themed set comes apart in three pieces and takes about 4 hours to put together. The massive set was constructed by only three builders, and designed by MFA scenic designer Morgan Lindsey Price.
“Man of La Mancha” will run in the Barclay Theater from Nov. 14 to Nov. 22.