Cervantes is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the Spanish language and his novel Don Quixote, as the greatest work of fiction ever written. There are many adaptations of the novel but none better than this one by Dale Wasserman, best known for his ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’.
Originally written as a teleplay in 1959, it became the book for the musical ‘Man of La Mancha’, appearing in 1965. But, very briefly, in between, it did appear in the guise of a stage play and it did enjoy a highly successful run in New York. This version, although never published, earned Wasserman a Writers Guild of America Award. Luckily, the Shattered Windscreen team found it and managed to get Wasserman’s widow, Martha, to grant them permission to perform it. It is a terrific piece of writing, and they are delighted to have the opportunity to bring it to life.
Cervantes, thrown into jail, awaits his trial at the hands of the Spanish Inquisition. Forced to plead his case with a dangerous selection of cellmates, he tells his story of Don Quixote, knight errant, who sallies forth into the world to right all wrongs. This play within a play takes on a life of its own as we follow the old knight and his faithful squire on his chivalrous quest, tilting at windmills and dicing with death, determined to live out his impossible dream and dedicate each victory to his lady, Dulcinea.
It is a glorious story; it has an epic sweep to it, ideally suited to the Minack stage (and anything the elements might throw at it!)