LA MUERTE DE DON QUIXOTEWritten by Matthew Posey
Presented by Ochre House Theater and the 2019 Dallas Flamenco Festival
Ochre House TheaterDirected by Matthew Posey
Choreography by Antonio Arrebola, Delilah Buitrón Arrebola and Juan Paredes
Original Music & Arrangements by Alfonso Cid, Alex Conde and José Cortés
Scenic Artist – IZK Davies
Lighting Design – Kevin Grammer
Costume Design – Fernando Hernandez
Puppet Design – Justin Locklear
Set Engineer & Props Design – Mitchell Parrack
Set Design – Matthew Posey
Stage Management – Sarah Box
House Management – Cynthia Webb
Facilitator – Mitchell Parrack
Antonio Arrebola – Don Quixote
Delilah Buitrón Arrebola – Dulcinea
Elizabeth Evans – Trifaldi
Stephanie Cleghorn Jasso – Altisidora
Omar Padilla – Padre
Chris Sykes – Sancho Panza
Alfonso Cid – Cantaor & Flute
Alex Conde – Piano
José Cortés – Cantaor
Reviewed Performance: 6/22/2019
Reviewed by Chris Hauge, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Welcome to the last moments of the brave, chivalrous, and hopelessly insane knight, Don Quixote, the man of La Mancha. Please pay your last respects to him by coming to Ochre House Theater and joining in this raucous, song-filled, celebration of the absurdity of love and valor in the face of the real world and of the unconquerable human spirit which will always strive and fight for the nobility of all people. Ochre House Theater in collaboration with the 2019 Dallas Flamenco Festival invite you to La Muerte de Don Quixote, and there is no need to bring flowers. All that the cast of this delightful show want is your presence, your applause, your olés, and your heart. With the magic of set designer Matthew Posey and Scenic Artist IZK Davies, we are transported to Old Spain and the bedroom of Don Quixote (Antonio Arrebola). The broken knight is carried to his bed by his loyal squire, Sancho Panza (Chris Sykes) and the Padre (Omar Padilla), both giddy with wine, after Don Quixote fell three stories to the ground in an attempt to fly to the moon in pursuit of his beloved Dulcinea (Delilah Buitrón Arrebola). As he lies gravely injured, his two nieces, Trifaldi (Elizabeth Evans) and Altisidora (Stephanie Cleghorn Jasso), enter the room, mourning his injuries and complaining how their uncle’s insanity has ruined the family name.
What follows is an over-the-top tale of madness, redemption, and chivalry told with humor and joy, driven by the beat of flamenco. Choreographed by Antonio Arrebola, Delilah Buitrón Arrebola, and Juan Paredes, the dancing is the soul of this production. The choreography is breathtaking and in a small performance space like Ochre House Theater, the rhythm goes into your chest and controls your heartbeat.
I am not a dance critic and do not possess the technical vocabulary to describe the artistry of the dancing. I can only tell you that I was blown away by it. The group numbers with Elizabeth Evans, Stephanie Cleghorn Jasso, Omar Padilla, and Chris Sykes were so much fun. Dancing with skill and humor, they embodied the magic created by flamenco. Combined with the music played by Alfonso Cid, Alex Conde, and José Cortés, the costumes designed with earthy grandeur by Fernando Hernandez, Kevin Grammer’s lighting design, and the witty script by Matthew Posey, we are transported into Don Quixote’s world of noble desires amidst chaos. It is a wonderful world to visit.
There is always a sense of wonder entering Ochre House Theatre. The walls surround you with images of the play you are going to see, and it is always a marvel how the producers pack so much into the space they have. Director Matthew Posey is a master at filling the stage with engaging stage pictures and in ensuring that the energy never lags. And the cast he has put together is just so damned good.
Classically trained flamenco instructor and dancer Antonio Arrebola plays the deluded but noble Don Quixote. His voice is filled with a longing to be worthy of his Dulcinea and his knowledge that he is only a broken man. Mr. Arrebola imparts dignity to the character, and when he dances, he shows the world that Don Quixote may be down, but he will never be defeated. The strength of his steps is such that you wonder if the floor will be able to support him. And the power exhibited in his moves is palpable. This is the second time I have had the honor to watch Mr. Arrebola perform and I hope I get many more chances to see him in the future.
Delilah Buitrón Arrebola as Dulcinea also brings immense dancing talent to the stage. Dulcinea, a serving girl without a family Don Quixote has taken in, exudes humility and spice in the hands of Delilah Buitrón Arrebola. I don’t have the opportunity to use the word saucy very often but when I watch her dance, that is the first word that comes to mind. There is a playfulness to her dancing that is enhanced with sexiness and strength and, yes, sauciness. You get the feeling when she is dancing with Don Quixote, as she matches him move for move, that she may be dancing with him, but she is the one in control.
Elizabeth Evans and Stephanie Cleghorn Jasso clearly are having fun playing the two nieces Trifaldi and Altisidora. They easily match the energy of everyone else and they are excellent dancers. It is great fun watching their faces as they dance, one with an expression of unfettered joy and the other with a practiced mask of distaste. They add so much to the joyous atmosphere of the evening.
Omar Padilla is the drunken but resourceful Padre assisting Sancho Panza with Don Quixote. He is delightful. Mr. Padilla dances and sings very well, and he makes the most out of his portrayal of Don Quixote’s mortal enemy, The Knight of the White Moon. Clad in a colander helmet and carrying a lance tipped with a carrot, Mr. Padilla proves himself as a talented physical actor. Watching him cower before Don Quixote as he faces potential “death by sausage” is just wonderful.
Chris Sykes is a truly great Sancho Panza. Clad in padded costume and walking in an exaggerated, very rhythmic, pigeon-toed manner, he is the embodiment of the humor of the show. Mr. Sykes is a gifted dancer and comedic actor and he becomes the loyal Sancho, the squire who would willingly give his life for his master but would probably trip on the way to save him.
I wish to acknowledge the talented musicians who provided original music and arrangements and played and sang throughout the show. Alfonso Cid, Alex Conde, and José Cortés provided the musical base that supported this delightful show. They provided so much of the heart of the show.
Thank you, Ochre House Theater and The 2019 Dallas Flamenco Festival for giving us the opportunity to see this celebration of a show. There is only one weekend left, so if you can get a ticket or two, I promise you will not be disappointed. And like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza you may find yourself riding towards the moon with the specter of death on your tail, full of the hope that anything is possible.
LA MUERTE DE DON QUIXOTE
Ochre House Theater
June 19 – 29, 2019
Wednesday – Saturday at 8:15PM
Saturday Matinee at 2:30PM
825 Exposition, Dallas TX 75226
For tickets and information call 214-826-6273
Or visit on the Web at www.ochrehousetheater.org