Chivalry Reigns in Hedgerow Theatre’s Don Quixote

Chivalry Reigns in Hedgerow Theatre’s Don Quixote

Hedgerow Theatre will be the site of feats of derring do and acts of valiant courage as it stages Keith Dewhurst’s adaptation of Cervantes’ classic Don Quixote from May 7 to June 7.

The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, published in two parts in 1605 and 1615 by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, is considered one of the most influential pieces of literature of all time. It’s the epic saga of a Spanish nobleman who becomes so enthralled with the chivalric novels he reads, that he loses touch with reality and believes a knight errant. He sets out on a series of adventures, determined to rid the world of evil and bring justice to all, aided by his faithful squire, Sancho Panza.

The wonderfully entertaining story has been retold in numerous forms, including movies and a Broadway musical. This version by British playwright Dewhurst, which features 23 short scenes in two acts, was hailed at its 1982 London premiere for retaining the language, humor and grandeur of Cervantes’ work in “a splendid ensemble showcase,” with Paul Scofield in the title role.

At Hedgerow, that part is played by Brian McCann, who was last on stage there in a critically praised portrayal of MacDuff in Macbeth in 1913. McCann, a classically trained actor with more than 20 years experience in the Philadelphia area, was a Hedgerow resident company member in 1994, and is thrilled to be back in what he considers “a bucket list role.” He’s joined by veteran actor and audience favorite Zoran Kovcic as the stalwart Sancho Panza.

All of the other characters will be played by members of the Hedgerow company, who will have multiple roles and acting as puppeteers. In the cast are Jennifer Summerfield, last seen in On the Verge; Hedgerow Fellows Allison Bloechl, Lily Dwoskin, Colleen Marker and Brock D. Vickers, who were all in the recent A Murder Has Been Arranged; 37-year veteran Susan Wefel; and newest company member Devon Walls, the founder of the Artist Warehouse in Chester.

Describing his take on Don Quixote, Juilliard-trained director Jared Reed said, “We’ve used Dewhurst’s play as a springboard for our own ensemble troupe of players and focused on just one of the themes of Cervantes’ masterpiece: What is a life well lived?” To do that, he continued, “we have employed all the epic qualities of theatre– actors playing multiple roles, puppets, shadow play, imagination, humor, and wrapped our brains around this theme. We have encouraged our designers and actors to use their imaginations to draw the fantastic from their talents and create a world that is wholly theatrical and totally human.”

Referring to the famous scene in which Quixote tilts at windmills, Reed added, “Don Quixote, for us, is about living a life where it is all-right to feel that the windmills we all fight are worthwhile, and even if they are windmill to others, which we acknowledge, they are terrible giants to us.”

Adult ticket prices for Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows are $34; Thursday shows are $29. There is a $3 discount for seniors. Tickets for those 30 and under are $20 and $15 for students with valid ID. Tickets for the previews on May 7 and 8 are $20 for adults and $15 for students. For groups of 10 or more, tickets are $18. Prices include all fees and are subject to change. For reservations or more info, call 610-565-4211 or visit Hedgerow Theatre is located at 64 Rose Valley Road in Rose Valley (near Media).