Written by 5:12 am Review, South Coast Repertory, Theater, Uncategorized

Quixote Nuevo @ South Coast Repertory – Review

PC: Jenny Graham

Written by Patrick Chavis

The classic tale Don Quixote, the story about a man who loses track of reality on a knight’s quest, receives a new update with this modern adaptation titled Quixote Nuevo, playing now at the South Coast Repertory from September 30 – October 28, 2023.

Story:

Quixote Nuevo follows our hero, Jose Quijano, played by Herbert Siguenza. Quijano is a former literature scholar and an expert on the famous Spanish writer Miguel De Cervantes. Afraid his best years are behind him, Quijano goes on a quest as Don Quixote with makeshift armor and a real sword in the fictional town of La Plancha, Texas. Quijano may be going on a fictional quest in his mind, but the outside world is full of real dangers in this funny, insightful, and modern take on the story.

Playwright Octavio Solis has written a hilarious and captivating tale with Quixote Nuevo. This play is an excellent examination of truth, similar to its source material. A good adaptation can show you how these ideas still apply and that multiple things can be true simultaneously. Quijano has created a fictional narrative from his love of Don Quixote, but even he questions himself in this play. I’m going to get meta here. His journey and actions in this play impact the people around him and, in the process, expose us, the audience, and the people around him to truths from this unexpected place. In a nutshell, what one might perceive as wrong or broken from another perspective is perfectly functional. The entire presentation of this bizarre comedic play is creatively and aesthetically professional and stylistically stunning.

Set/Lighting/Sound:

The scenic design from Efren Delgadillo Jr. consisted of a blue sky with clouds in the background layered in front of stone mountains that look like something you might see at Disneyland. Tiny houses sit on top of the hills, with lights popping out of one of the houses. In front of the stage was a pile of books. The set makes the characters look like mountains are surrounding them.

The lighting and sound team on this show created some impressive effects combined with the choreography from the entire cast. This show captures the storybook aesthetic down to these artfully crafted wooden puppets. The closer-to-earth human moments balance out the more fantastical adventures.

Acting:

The puppetry work in this production was a lovely touch and perfectly grounded and fantasized the narrative in the same stroke. It was a great combination of artistic expressions working together so beautifully.

The moments when Siguenza would transition from absolute certainty to showing fear and insecurity running throughout his face and body humanized his character and took the performance to a whole other level.

Overall:

Quixote Nuevo is a hilarious and creative new take on Don Quixote with music, adventure, and a style all its own— a cornucopia of theatrical approaches molded and crafted finely into a work of great art.

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Masterpiece! September 30 – October 28, 2023. 

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