On Stage: May River Theatre Co. presents 'Man of La Mancha'

features@islandpacket.comMay 7, 2014 

From left, Debbie Cort, Daniel Cort and Rodney Vaughn star in May River Theatre Co.'s production of "Man of La Mancha."

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Director: Wendell MacNeal

Lead actors: Daniel Cort as Miguel de Cervantes/Don Quixote; Debbie Cort as Aldonza/Dulcinea; and Rodney Vaughn as Sancho Panza

The plot: In the 16th century, Miguel de Cervantes -- poet, playwright and part-time actor -- has been arrested, together with his manservant, by the Spanish Inquisition. They are accused of presenting an entertainment offensive to the Inquisition. Inside the huge dungeon into which they have been cast, the other prisoners gang up on Cervantes and his manservant, and begin a mock trial, with the intention of stealing or burning his possessions. Cervantes wishes to desperately save a manuscript he carries with him and stages -- with costumes, makeup and the participation of the other prisoners -- an unusual defense, the story of Don Quixote.

The story behind the show: " 'Man of La Mancha' debuted on the Broadway stage in 1968 and won five Tony awards," MacNeal says. "Since then it has had four Broadway revivals. It is essentially a play within a play as the audience watches Miguel de Cervantes display his bizarre imagination in his attempt to proclaim his innocence. He does this by engaging the other prisoners in a charade that takes them on a journey to find his quest for truth. I chose this play because I love the music, the characterizations and the challenge to have the audience 'dream the impossible dream.' "

Director's take: "The music is wonderful, inspiring and enduring," MacNeal says. "Hopefully, the audience will walk away contemplating their own personal quest."

Behind the scenes: "We are just starting the process. It is interesting to watch the cast transitioning into the nefarious characters they portray," MacNeal says.

Run dates: May 9, 10 ,11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25

Ticket prices: $25

Contact for tickets: 843-815-5581

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