Among the events celebrating the 400th anniversary of the publication of Don Quijote de La Mancha, the Spanish theater company Bambalina is presenting a puppet version of Cervantes’ novel. The show will be held at Instituto Cervantes tonight at 7 o’clock.
Don Quijote alone, in a room in his house, is obsessively reading books of all types until he goes mad. Thus starts this theater show that depicts the madness of this universal hero, his love for Dulcinea and the special relationship he has with Sancho. Through episodes such as the windmill adventure, audiences see how Quijote goes on mixing reality and fiction until he is finally humiliated by those around him and is vanquished by his own demons.
From its premiere in 1991, Bambalina’s Quijote show has visited 36 countries and has been performed more than 350 times. Based on Cervantes’ immortal novel, the Spanish company has brought together a group of professionals with very interesting contributions in the field of directing (Carles Alfaro), music (Joan Cerveró) and stageplay (Jaume Policarpo), with a contemporary aesthetic connecting Cervantes’ classic with today’s audience. Since its first performance Quijote has become one of the company’s classics and continues to receive applause from the public and the critics.
For just under one hour the audience will experience a fascination with Quijote, Bambalina’s masterwork. Two actors (David Durán and Àngel Fígols) dressed in black, a table, the play of light and shadows, precise gestures and the right music blend to create a mute yet eloquent Quijote, with Goyesque, Gothic, Expressionist evocations.
Tonight’s show is part of an Asian tour that will bring this puppet-version of Don Quijote to Beijing, Tokyo, Manila, Yakarta, Kuala Lumpur and New Delhi.
Yet it will not be the first time Bambalina’s puppet-version of Cervantes’ novel is shown in Manila, since the company staged it in 2004, also brought by Instituto Cervantes, the Spanish cultural center.
Ángeles González, the company’s production person, recalls that experience with pleasure: “Theatre goers have always wanted to see works from other countries. In Asia, because normally they only get flamenco or dance productions, they find our show very fresh and original.”
Now, more than 10 years later, Bambalina will treat Manila theater lovers anew as González further explains, “Over the period of a decade the Quijote show has been modified, discovering new paths and being enriched by the interaction with different audiences. Of course, the puppets arouse passions but especially in Bambalina’s way of working, in which neither the puppets nor the handlers play traditional roles.
Instituto Cervantes is located at 855 T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila. For more information, log on to www.manila.cervantes.es.