It is tempting to say that Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s Don Quixote hardly ever receives old. But growing old is pretty significantly the point in playwright Octavio Solís’ “Quixote Nuevo” on phase at the Denver Center, by means of June 12.
Directed by Lisa Portes, this vivid reaction to the persistent phone of 1 of the terrific tales in literature is as densely textured as it is generally entertaining and touching.
Science and religion face off. Memory (historical and individual) and trauma (cultural and familial) get their instant to strut and bolero on the stage. There are puppets and new-fangled calacas. Finest of all — and hasn’t he always fallen below that rubric “Best of All”? — Sancho P. however has Quixote’s again.
The motion — and there is a lot of it — is set in the fictional town of La Plancha, Texas, where by retired literature professor Jose Quijano (Herbert Siguenza) has become far too a great deal for his sister Magdalena (Laura Crotte) to take care of. His memory is faltering, building him more challenging and more durable to treatment for. Against her daughter Antonia’s protests, Magdalena designs to ship him to a nursing facility.
Father Perez (Sol Castillo) and Dr. Campos (Maya Malan-Gonzalez), a therapist, show up to help in means that speak to their conflicting earth sights. Although they are hectic bickering the deserves of God and pharmacology, Quijano escapes.
He seeks a different out (or two). One is into the imagination, in which his edition of Quixote sets out to right a childhood tragedy. The other? Nicely, it is as inescapable as they come: Quijano is haunted by demise. Clad in black leather-based trousers and bare-chested beneath a black jacket, Papa Calaca (a lithe Raúl Cardona) comes with a refrain of singing, taunting comprehensive-sizing skeletons evoking Working day of the Lifeless celebrations.
Papa Calaca tells the tormented scholar, “know that I’m the dimmer of your light, the rigor in your mortis, Papa Muerte with all his bony angels.” Papa’s chorus is just as vigorously poetic: “Remember in the end, you ain’t what you faux or what you expend but what you did and didn’t do, claimed and in no way explained, cherished and liked so badly.” (Sometimes I wished for significantly less visual bravado to much better hear to the music of these words and phrases.)
Solís’ language flows from disquisition to spoken-phrase boasts, from Spanish to English and back again. Fantasy and actuality blend and collide, sometimes harshly, from time to time sweetly. Borders are traversed. And what took place on the divide amongst Mexico and Texas a long time back nonetheless haunts the growing old professor ample for him to undertake a quest not unlike (truly pretty much like) Quixote’s. Will it confirm, ahem, as quixotic? These a fine problem.
Quijano is not by itself for the journey, 1 he embarks on astride an grownup tricycle, a skull mounted on its handlebars. He drafts Manny Diaz, a paletas Mexicanas seller, into his journey to discover his muse, Dulcinea.
Ernie González Jr. plays Manny beautifully mindful of the proximity of humor to heartache. At instances Manny indulges the professor’s hallucinations of grandeur, particular they are a symptom of dementia. Other periods, he’s not so guaranteed, likely so considerably as to defend this present-day Quixote’s quest to discover his real really like and make amends. He, way too, has a accurate like and, later, his wife, Juana (Alexis B. Santiago), will fret and steam at her man’s unexplained disappearance.
A family-operate dive/karaoke bar figures into the duo’s journey, as does an come upon with an exhausted team of migrants and a unusual herd of goats. In pursuit: the priest and the medical professional, Magdalena and Antonia (Krystal Ortiz), as well as Juana.
There will be battles, largely imagined but with deep, educational insights. The tunes is wealthy, festive, foreboding. (David Molina is responsible for the aural tapestry of track and seem.) There will be dances (Marissa Herrera is the choreographer). The costumes are the cunning do the job of Helen Q. Huang, as is the puppet design and style. Pablo Santiago allows there be mild: dim crimson desert skies and shadows befitting calacas on a mission. All of this unfolds on Efren Delgadillo Jr.’s established, just one that will get at the arid magic of the high desert.
It can take a light, loving heroism to return once more and once again to Quixote and his tale. Solís has sent Quixote anew, together the way righting offenses (there is no sexual assault) and reclaiming the rooted ethics of the canonical textual content for new generations, Latino and or else. Director Portes and her gifted, tireless solid and crew have manufactured daring the playwright’s eyesight. Quixote, Sancho & Co: 1. Windmills of the brain and other borders: .
A creative convergence in Denver
The final weekend of its operate, “Quixote Nuevo” will have corporation in its celebrating of Latinx stories, storytellers and other theater artists when the LTC Carnaval and Comedy Festival normally takes up home at Su Teatro Cultural & Executing Arts Centre on Santa Fe Generate, June 9-11.
The brainchild of the Boston-dependent HowlRound’s Latinx Theatre Commons collective, Carnaval will convey theater professions to Denver to check out staged readings of 3 new whole-length performs (“Escobar’s Hippo” by Franky Gonzalez, “Exhaustion: Dancin’ Trees In The Ravine, a psychedelic comedia” by W. Fran Astorga, and “La Egoista” by Erlina Ortiz), in addition to showcasing a slew of comedy sets (sketch and stand-up) and “Latine Comedy in Conversation,” with panelists Adrienne Dawes, Herbert Siguenza, Evelina Fernandez and Donelle Prado.
Why the comedy emphasis? “There are equipment to combat oppression baked into comedy,” claims Amelia Acosta Powell, whose producer credit rating — “LTC Comedy Carnaval Champion” — winks at the critical playfulness (or is it vice versa?) of the endeavor. “Within our individual communities, there is a responsiveness of ‘I do not want to speak about solely trauma. I want to rejoice joy. I want to celebrate love tales. I want to just be a comprehensive human.’ So, I do feel that there’s that impulse right now among the ourselves.”
As for Denver, Powell is aware of it effectively. She grew up in the city’s Hilltop community before heading to Washington, D.C., for college. Just when the linguistics significant who went on to get her master’s diploma was veering towards academia, a fellowship at D.C.’s Arena Stage replotted her program. She’s at the moment the impact producer at the Actors Theatre of Louisville.
“There’s a abundant, diverse, and exciting Latinx art scene in Denver and not essentially as nationally acknowledged as it really should be. So, I pitched an party for Denver, and I was so happy it was picked,” Powell mentioned throughout a zoom simply call. “And of study course, (Su Teatro inventive director) Tony Garcia has been associated for a extensive time, also.”
In man or woman for the initially time since 2019, Carnaval convenes in the course of Su Teatro’s 50th anniversary celebrations. (Just to jam the pack even a lot more, Su Teatro reprises its strike musical saunter down carril de la memoria, “Chicanos Sing the Blues” — conceived and designed by Garcia and Danny Valdez — opening June 9 and managing via June 26.)
Garcia, way too, sees the rebellious options in comedy. “I believe our communities have often experienced that capability to be resilient through our humor — and by means of our songs and by means of our food stuff,” he suggests.
“It’s like we’re celebrating the most agonizing stuff. But that is how we survive, how we challenge it, how we dissect it, too,” he went on to say. “If it was not for our sarcasm, I never know how we would survive. Sarcasm is a potent instrument, not only for lashing out, but it is also a impressive instrument for deconstructing and finding out. Humor is a good way of finding truth.”
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