Don Quixote19 May – 2 June, 2012
A WORLD OF IMAGINATION.
When do dreams become real? Choreographer François Klaus offers a different take on the legendary story by Cervantes in this inventive production.
The ballet, Don Quixote, is being filmed, and the dancer performing the title role feels such an affinity for his character that he plunges himself into reading the original tale. In his dreams, he becomes the famous knight and is transported into the wonderful world of the Don’s illusions, where he performs chivalrous deeds, seeks glory in battle, and gives his heart to the beautiful Dulcinea. But the Don’s grand exploits are all in his head, and he is blissfully unaware of how much amusement this creates.
Back on the film set, there is a sparkling performance of highlights from the traditional ballet. With stirring music and spirited dance, this Don Quixote is a gentle reminder of the great power of imagination.
Audio Description will be available at the performance on Thursday 31 May at 7:30pm.
- CONCEPT & CHOREOGRAPHY
- François Klaus (Grand pas de deux after Petipa)
- SET DESIGN
- Alison Ross
- COSTUME DESIGN
- Noelene Hill / Selene Cochrane
- LIGHTING DESIGN
- Matt Scott
- LIGHTING REALISED BY
- Ben Hughes
The ballet Don Quixote is being filmed. The dancer playing the title role in the film has identified so strongly with his character that after the day’s work, he falls asleep and dreams of his own Dulcinea. He imagines her being taken away by an Enchanter.
Rushing to save her, he finds that he is fighting his own shadow. In his dream, he becomes Don Quixote and calls on Sancho Panza to share his errant life as his squire.
Don Quixote and Sancho spend the first night of their travels in the open air. While Don Quixote dreams of knights and beautiful maidens, Sancho is occupied with the more earthy pursuits of eating and sleeping.
The following day, Don Quixote begins his quest. He mistakes a group of monks for shadows of evil and attacks them.
Eventually the two travellers arrive at a modest inn, which Don Quixote believes to be a castle. His grand behaviour is a great surprise to the other guests and the personnel of the inn, as he insists on seeing the maid as a princess, and the innkeeper as the castle’s chatelain. He persuades the innkeeper to knight him.
A restless night follows, with everyone pleased to see the travellers leave to continue their quest for adventures.
Don Quixote mistakes windmills for giants and proceeds to attack them, without success. He then manages to save a group of prisoners from the gallows, but they are not particularly thankful to him – rather, they beat him. He then meditates, as famous knights are supposed to do.
Eventually Don Quixote sends Sancho off to deliver a love letter to his beloved Dulcinea, and commands him to bring her back to him. As Dulcinea exists only in Don Quixote’s imagination, Sancho decides instead to bring the first peasant he meets, explaining that a powerful Enchanter has transformed her. This does not discourage the Don, who puts his heart at the girl’s feet. His gesture is met with a very mixed response.
Eventually our hero finds himself fighting the shadow of the Enchanter – but it is in fact nothing more than his own shadow.
The dancer playing the role of Don Quixote wakes up and rushes to the film set. He is very late and everyone is tensely waiting for him.
After a short argument with the director, he leaves and goes into a nightclub, where a small dance troupe is performing tangos. He drinks more than he should. As everyone joins in the dance, he sees his girlfriend dancing with someone else. Angry, he picks a fight which he doesn’t win, and is taken home by friends.
As his mind wanders, he imagines himself again in Don Quixote’s world and sees two magnificent armies of knights marching towards each other. Sancho says that he can only see a flock of sheep, but the Don declares that this is an optical illusion caused by enchantment, and throws himself into what he thinks is a battle. The flock of sheep is easily defeated.
He continues his journey from one illusion to the next, with diverse fortune. A rich Duke and Duchess who they encounter are highly amused, and decide to offer Don Quixote the world he believes in, by asking all their courtiers and servants to act as if they were in a more chivalrous age. They receive our heroes with great honour and stage a lavish feast for them.
An Enchanter then appears and reveals how to break the spell which keeps the beautiful Dulcinea in the form of a peasant, persuading Don Quixote and Sancho that they must fly on a magic wooden horse to reach a faraway land, where the Don will accomplish illustrious exploits.
At this point, the dancer wakes in his room, very late for rehearsal. When he arrives on the film set, he finds that he has been replaced in his role, and has lost his position in the company.
He wanders the city, alone in the crowd. He realises that he cannot live happily without his art, and has great difficulty coming to terms with everyday life.
A friend joins him and brings him back to the film set, trying to cajole him out of his depression. However, not unlike Don Quixote in the book, he discovers that without his folly and his ideals, his life makes no sense.