The U.S. premiere of a new adaptation by Peter Anderson and Colin Heath
From the novel by Miguel Cervantes
Directed by Lesley Schisgall Currier
• Cast and Production Staff
• Producer’s Perspective
• From the Playbill
• What the Critics Said
• Production Photos
Cast and Production Staff
Don Quixote – Ron Campbell*
Sancho Panza – John R. Lewis*
Director/Producer – Lesley Schisgall Currier
Costume Designer – Maria Chenut
Fight Director – Richard Pallaziol
Lighting Designer – Ellen Brooks
Mask Designer – David Poznanter
Properties and Set Decor Designer – Joel Eis
Set Designer – Jackson Currier
Sound Designer and Composer – Billie Cox
Stage Manager – Gillian Confair*
Assistant Stage Manager – Kelly Kassir
Sometimes a production comes together as if by magic. This production was one of those, thanks to Miguel de Cervantes, Peter Anderson, Colin Heath and Ron Campbell. Cervantes wrote the incredibly innovative meta-literary story that probably inspired and fueled contemporary writer Shakespeare’s own meta-theatrical ideas and metaphors. (Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the exact same day, sort of (the English and Spanish calendars did not synch) and Shakespeare certainly knew of Cervantes since his “lost” play Cardenio is named after a character from Don Quixote. But we digress…) Peter Anderson and Colin Heath took the sprawling set of novels and distilled them into a funny, sad, thoughtful and extremely playful and playable script. And Ron Campbell brought the script to us, and brought to life Cervantes’ iconic dreamer, surrounded by an inventive, disciplined and soulful ensemble of actors wearing glorious masks created by the impish David Poznanter and imaginative costumes conceived by Marin Chenut.
The production was nominated for a slew of awards including “Best Play” both by the Bay Area Critics Circle and Theatre Bay Area Awards, “Best Actor” for both Ron Campbell and John R. Lewis’ Sancho Panza, “Best Direction,” “Best Ensemble” and more. Composer Billie Cox outdid herself creating a perfect score.
And yet… now that it is gone from our stage, can we really say that it actually happened? Perhaps we are just lunatics to think that it did, or maybe we just imagined it all, or read it in a book. Will we ever really know?
From the Playbill
When you have the opportunity to help bring to life a deep and classic story with one of the finest performers in the Bay Area, throw caution to the wind and leap like Don Quixote lunging at an enchanted windmill! It is my honor and pleasure to collaborate with Ron Campbell on this beautiful play. Ron is simply one of the finest talents gracing Bay Area stages today. His clowning skill is matched only by his wondrous imagination. So how fitting for him to play a character for whom imagination is everything.
Philosophers have tried for centuries to define reality. We often think we know what is real – this booklet in my hand, the person sitting next to me. And yet, it doesn’t take much probing to discover that every person sees and interprets the world differently. I see a sheep on a hillside and savor the picturesqueness; you may be thinking about a mutton dinner. I see a doctor of medicine and give him my respect, while you might see a charlatan. We think we know the world and other people. Yet we have all experienced how our perception of things can shift, and that each person’s heart contains a multitude of secrets.
Cervantes’ story forces us to consider what is real and what is imaginary. Can we deny reality by refusing to believe in it? Are we insane when we see things differently from other people? Does it matter what is truly real? Or is there a deeper reality of the human heart?
Ron brought this script to us and gave us the chance to work with someone I consider a theatrical legend. No wonder we’ve attracted an incredibly talented cast and wildly inventive crew to bring this sweet and silly and serious play to life.
– Lesley Currier, Director
What the Critics Said
“Whether you are intrigued by philosophy or want a rollicking good time, Marin Shakespeare’s ‘Don Quixote’ is the play to see.…Marin Shakespeare’s ‘Don Quixote’ is a captivating premiere with incomparable acting, jovial comedy, and an underlying depth of thought that is relevant to modern society. The direction by Lesley Schisgall Currier is nothing short of brilliant. Ron Campbell as Don Quixote is absolute perfection. ”
Alexa Chipman, ImaginationLane.net
“Swept away by beguiling ‘Don Quixote’ at Marin Shakespeare….Long, willowy Ron Campbell straddles a broomstick — with a watering can perched atop one end — and the magic of Cervantes’ great archetype of dreaming impossible dreams takes hold…. A master clown, and a magnetic performer in any ensemble, Campbell embodies the immortal Knight of the Mournful Countenance so completely that it seems he could carry the whole show on his shoulders. Fortunately, he doesn’t have to.”
Rob Hurwitt, SF Chronicle
“Marin Shakespeare’s ‘Don Quixote’ …a truly inventive, memorable production.”
“The impossible dream enchants the soul a madcap romp, with the audience laughing in delight…The entire family will enjoy this humorous take on Don Quixote….Director Lesley Schisgall Currier delivers a tightly choreographed production, with award winning actor Ron Campbell as the hopeful knight and John R. Lewis as Sancho Panza, his recruited squire….backed by an impressive ensemble of five nimble talents (Cassidy Brown, Rick Eldridge, Lee Fitzpatrick, Monica Ho and Jed Parsario) in dozens of supporting roles. The cast flawlessly changes characters, aided by a stunning assortment of more than 30 partial face masks created by David Poznanter.”
Cari Lynn Pace, Marinscope Newspapers
“‘Don Quixote’ plays to our imagination…a fantastic adventure for the whole family.”
“It’s great fun….delightful masked theatre, traditional clowning, polished slapstick, inspired silliness, and only a hint of gravitas.”
Charles Kruger, TheatreStorm
Marin Shakespeare conjures a knight to remember in ‘Don Quixote’….Peter Anderson and Colin Heath’s ‘Don Quixote’ debuted in Canada in 2010, and Marin Shakes presents its U.S. premiere anchored by a phenomenal performance by the great Bay Area comedic performer and clown Ron Campbell, in his company debut….John R. Lewis’ Sancho Panza, Quixote’s lovable simpleton sidekick, is perfectly matched to the dotty knight he follows. It’s the interplay between Panza’s bewildered chattiness and Quixote’s romantic illusions that really make the play come alive….In the impressively polished staging directed by Marin Shakes managing director Lesley Schisgall Currier, everyone else is played by a nimble ensemble of five in a variety of wonderfully expressive commedia-style masks by David Poznanter….The final image of the play, a sort of dropping-away of the veil of illusion, is downright heartbreaking.”
Sam Hurwitt, Marin I.J.
” ‘Don Quixote’ Marin Shakespeare Company – This brilliant new version is commedia dell’arte at its finest. It’s lighthearted and funny…Ron Campbell gives an outstanding performance as Don Quixote. John R. Lewis beautifully underplays his performance as Sancho Panza. Cassidy Brown, Rick Eldridge, Lee Fitzpatrick, Monica Ho, and Jed Parsario play main roles plus other characters with boundless energy….Lesley Schisgall Currier’s direction is effortlessly paced with emphasis on the slapstick timing of the cast. Costume designer Maria Chenut has designed excellent costumes for the cast while fight director Richard Pallaziol gets good marks for the battles. The half-masks created by David Poznanter…give the familiar story a new twist.”
Richard Connema, Talkin’ Broadway
“Real Theatrical Magic at Marin Shakes….A solid, well directed new adaptation of a classic work which benefits from the efforts of one of the best physical comedians in the Bay Area. Mr. Campbell’s physical comedy gifts are so sublime that one could not help but believe that he was in fact Quixote himself. Ably supporting Mr. Campbell was John R. Lewis as everyone’s favorite squire Sancho Panza.”
“….enjoy this touching, beautiful, witty play about the real and the imaginary and the dreamer in all of us….Ron Campbell, who is so well-known for his physical comedy, becomes not only Don Quixote but also his horse. Proud and prancing with knees raised high, Mr. Campbell rides a broom covered by a bucket and is more impressive than any man on any live horse. Sancho Panza, played by John R. Lewis who has just the right touch of naivete, deference, and uncomprehending to be true to the original text…There is a commedia feel to the piece with half-masks by the creative David Poznanter and a terrific, versatile ensemble cast of five who take on a multitude of parts.Maria Chenut’s costumes are impressive and Jackson Currier’s simple set of ramps in front of a wall of books functions well for all the movement, character and scene changes.”
Marcia Solomon, Words on Theater
“Ron Campbell is indeed GREAT…Those who value fine acting should hustle out to Forest Meadows…”
Charles Brousse, Pacific Sun
“Marin Shakespeare’s heartwarming ‘Don Quixote’ is a winner”
“Marin Shakespeare’s adaptation of ‘Don Quixote’ is both funny and inspiring…It is a wonderful summer experience to sit under the stars in this beautiful setting sipping a glass of wine and watching amazing theater.
Evan Almdale, Joint Forces Journal
“Marin Shakespeare’s ‘Don Quixote’ is a play filled with wonder and imagination..humor, adventure and even a bit of audience interaction….”
Megan Guerrero, For All Events
“Marin Shakespeare’s ‘Don Quixote’ – Poignant, poetic and playful…the play covered it all…Ron Campbell was excellent in his portrayal of Quixote, providing a great sense of timing and stage presence. John Lewis played Sancho Paza, and gave a poignant portrayal of true friendship.The magic of masks enabled five actors to play 15 characters!”
Sarah Amador, 101 Things To Do Sonoma County
” ‘Don Quixote’ ~ a genuine pleasure to see this top notch presentation….theatre at its very best.”
Production Photos – by Lori A. Cheung