I am I Don Quixote…The Lord of La Mancha…My Destiny Calls and I Go!
When I hear this refrain, I get all excited-tingly inside. And I’m not alone, apparently.
Last Saturday night I sat in a packed theatre with a bunch of other people, all of us watching Don Quixote’s magical quest unfold and letting it conjure us into a place of collective enlightenment.
Theatre has the power to do that.
In fact, somewhat coincidentally, one of my favorite quotes about theatre comes from the liner notes for the Broadway Revival CD of Man of La Mancha. In them the director, Jonathan Kent, wrote:
“THEATRE – THAT STRANGE RITUAL, STRETCHING BACK OVER 2000 YEARS WHEREBY STRANGERS SIT IN ROWS WATCHING OTHER STRANGERS – HAS THE UNIQUE CAPACITY TO TELL US SECRETS ABOUT OURSELVES IN THE DARK.”
Oh yeah. For years I’ve reread those words as I listened over and over to the soundtrack (and broke the CD case). Although I’d seen another production many moons ago, it wasn’t until I started listening deeply to the songs (and the incomparable Brian Stokes Mitchell) that the spell was cast and I was taken to that secret place.
And if you’ve never heard Brian Stokes Mitchell sing The Impossible Dream, well…you simply must. It will definitely be worth a few minutes of your time.
But I digress. I’ve also shared those words (about theatre telling us secrets about ourselves) when I’ve been performing myself. I’ve noticed they loosen audiences up and help them enter another world, the world of imagination.
Which is where Man of La Mancha slyly takes us.
Into the backcountry of imagination. Urging us to look at the sketchy border between fantasy and reality. Posing the question, “What is madness and what is truth?” As Quixote/Cervantes asks:
When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams, this may be madness. To seek treasure where there is only trash…too much sanity may be madness! And maddest of all…to see life as it is and not as it should be!
Maybe, just maybe, there’s room for a fine sprinkle of madness, a bigger scoop of imagination, in all our lives right now.
WHY NOT START NOW?