‘Man of La Mancha’ student production preview

MHCC’s winter theatre production, “Man of La Mancha,” will hold its opening night on Saturday, Feb. 24.

The plot: Awaiting his trial by the Inquisition, Miguel de Cervantes is threatened to have his manuscript taken away by people within the prison. To prove the merit of his work, he sets up a re-enactment of the piece, using some of the prisoners. Together, they tell the story of the aged Alonso Quijana who believes himself to be a knight errant, names himself Don Quixote, and sets out with his chatty squire, Sancho Panza, to seek adventures.

The mad Don Quixote may think a windmill is a giant and a tavern is a castle, but along the way he also transforms a wretched woman into a beautiful lady – and proves that an old man’s belief can truly make him a knight – bringing a glimmer of hope in a time full of darkness.

One reason why the play was chosen for MHCC was that it required the actors to develop “layers in their characterizations,” said Mace Archer, the director of the show and MHCC instructor for Artistic Theater. “Each of them plays two characters – the prisoner of the crusade, and the character in Cervantes story,” he said.

This also presents a challenge for the production’s scenic and lighting crew since it’s now focusing on one big environment rather than changing sets.

“I do hope everyone will make time to come see the show,” Archer said. “It is a classic story told in a beautiful way. The music is amazing,” he added, with a full orchestra composed of mostly MHCC students conducted by music instructor Grant Linsell.

“Man of La Mancha” performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 24-25 and March 3-4, and at 2 p.m. Feb. 26 and March 5, all in the College Theatre.

Advance tickets cost $10 for MHCC students, staff and all seniors, and $12 for other adults. At the door, tickets cost $12 for students/staff/seniors, $15 for adults.

For more information, visit: mhcc.edu/theatreboxoffice or call 503-491-7154.

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