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The "Man of La Mancha" lives on at PRHS



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“To Dream the Impossible Dream”: Noah Crane, as Sancho Panza, Steve Raymond, as Don Quixote, and Hannah Ingerson, as Aldonza, on stage in the Plymouth Regional High School production of “Man of La Mancha.” (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)
November 17, 2010
PLYMOUTH — They have worked their magic again. The staff and students of Plymouth Regional High School's Performing Arts Department have put together a profound production of "Man of La Mancha," the ever-popular recreation of the Miguel De Cervantes story about that beloved, windmill besotted Don Quixote, his loyal sidekick, Sancho Panza, and his muse, the beautiful Lady Dulcinella.

There is still time to purchase tickets for this weekend's upcoming performances. The musical, as written by Dale Wasserman, with music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion, debuted this past weekend at PRHS, staring Steve Raymond as Don Quixote, Noah Crane as Sancho Panza, and Hannah Ingerson as Aldonza (the "Lady" Dulcinella). Performances this upcoming weekend will take place tonight, Thursday, Nov. 18; Friday, Nov. 19; and Saturday, Nov. 20, starting at 7:30 p.m., with a Saturday matinee on Nov. 20 at 3 p.m.

If you have never attended a PRHS theater event, you are in for a treat. If you have, you know that you can expect a polished, professional performance, with amazing original set design, creative and colorful costumes, live music under the expert baton of Conductor Mr. Will Gunn, captivating choreography by Mrs. Lisa Travis, and dynamite directing by Ms. Sarah Bunkley.

The legend of the tragic hero, Don Quixote, unfolds as a play within a play, set entirely in the dark dungeons of despair where Miguel De Cervantes awaits his fate before the dreaded Spanish Inquisition for "crimes" of poetry and fancy, in conflict presumably with the requirements of church and state.

The tale of Don Quixote is a timeless story with a message for every era about the transcendent power of idealism to triumph, ultimately, despite all appearances, over the darkness of toil and tyranny. The "trial" of Cervantes is a trial of the ages, reminding audiences to keep faith with the dreamers, and the dream, even when all hope looks lost.

Casting for the PRHS production is superb, with Raymond starring as a credible Quixote if ever there was one. His innocently expressive face perfectly captures the essence of the hero; his stunning sincerity, culminating in the heart rending rendition of "To Dream the Impossible Dream," one of the most moving songs ever written.

The multi-talented Ingerson is terrific in the pivotal role of Aldonza, or as her Lord, Don Quixote, sees it, the "Lady Dulcinella," otherwise known as a common bar wench. Ingerson carries off the very difficult role with the perfect poise and subtlety so essential to the meaning and purpose of the play.

Another favorite performance is delivered by the amiable Crane, as Sancho Panza, whose loyalty and basic goodness provide a solid foundation for the tale.

Kudos also to Christian Scibetta, who plays Duke, or Dr. Sanson Carrasco, the necessary foil for the plot, projecting a plodding, well meaning practicality, the pinnacle of reason and learning in contrast to the seeming "idiocy" of Quixote's presumed madness.

There are many other outstanding performances, including the "Padre" by Will Bolton and the devilishly delicious dancing of a Moorish harem. (You will have to see it in its full acrobatic glory to understand).

All of the student performances are showcased by the stunning and ingenious set design, with pedestals, perches and points of interest to help keep the movement of the play flowing smoothly throughout the performance. You will not want to miss the remarkable staircase of doom that is lowered so dramatically, and with such ominous import.

For those who have forgotten how moving and inspirational the "Man of La Mancha" can be, or for those who have never had the chance to see it performed, this weekend will provide a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with the "Impossible Dream."

To quote Quixote himself — "When Life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies?....And maddest of all: to see life as it is and not as it ought to be."

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