Nov 062002
Authors: Alicia Leonardi

As any college student who is afflicted with tests, work and grim responsibility knows, sometimes the cares of the real world pale in comparison to the excitement we each can create within our own imagination.

Dale Wasserman’s classic musical detailing the fantasy world of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, ends its run this Friday and Saturday at the Johnson Hall Mainstage Theater.

The poet Cervantes, played by graduate vocal-performance major Travis Risner, takes this idea to an extreme when he decides that sanity is overrated and leaves his hum-drum life as a tax collector/actor/bad poet to become the gallant knight Don Quixote.

Accompanied by his faithful servant Sancho Panza, played by freshman business major Charles Burnette, Quixote rides boldly into “battle” with formidable “giants” such as windmills, and loves every minute of it.

All respectable knights need the love of a woman to sustain them through battle, so Quixote decides to go out and find one. He happens upon Aldonza, a prostitute/barmaid played by graduate vocal performance major Britta Risner, he dubs her “his lady Dulcinea” and dedicates all future battles to her name.

Director Linda Jones chose this vibrant, dizzying screenplay because it seemed like a great fit for CSU in terms of venue, cast and content.

“It’s practical,” Jones said. “It uses a single set the whole time and we don’t (in our set up) have the capability to do lots of changes of scenery.”

Many of the character’s transformations take place right in front of the audience and the orchestra. The large ensemble cast is on stage for a majority of the time.

“I like the format of the script, it’s a play within a play that keeps going back and forth between reality and fantasy,” Jones said. “Most importantly, I like the message that it is important to see life not just as it is, but as it should be.”

According to Jones, since the actors are students who are still learning their craft, each night of the production the performance quality gets higher and higher as the actors become more confident and comfortable with their roles.

I love watching new discoveries as the students become more secure and react off the audience,” Jones said. “It is fun to sit back and observe that growth; you don’t see that with the professional theatre.”

Though the overall student reception to the play was positive, those well versed in theatre picked out some flaws.

“I thought it was really well done and the technical aspects were amazing,” said Tara Constanzo, freshman open option major. “Although they must have had somebody doing the spot that didn’t really know how to do it. Then again I used to be a techie and I notice that kind of thing.”

For those students not familiar with the inner workings of theatre, the main complaints dealt with the venue rather than directly with the student’s performance.

“I’m an electrical engineer so I got kind of lost,” said junior Robert Krueger. “This theatre is designed backwards so all the sound collects down front instead of projecting to the back … the poor barber was singing his heart out and I was like eh.”

Tickets are $7 for CSU students and are quickly selling out. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office from noon to 5 p.m. at 491-5116 or 491-5562.

Students interested in getting involved with the theatre department should consult the theatre department’s homepage ( for more information.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.