A Brave New Quixote
Quixote Nuevo runs June 13-July 1.
Michele Apriña and Emilio Delgado Leavy appear in Quixote Nuevo.
Photo by Kevin Berne
One of the great (and the earliest) novels of all time, Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote has also proven one of the most influential, inspiring countless adaptations and variations of the story of the delusional old man who’s read so many adventure stories that he sets off as a knight errant in a world where people just don’t do that kind of thing anymore. “That kind of thing,” in Quixote’s case, famously included attacking windmills because he imagines them to be giants.
Now the great longtime (but no longer) Bay Area playwright Octavio Solis is taking a crack at Quixote in a modern Latinx version called Quixote Nuevo, set to premiere at California Shakespeare Theater in June. Solis, whose adaptation of John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven premiered at Cal Shakes a few years back, has written several iterations of his Quixote adaptation, for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2009 and Shakespeare Dallas last year, but this is a substantially new take on it—thus the “Nuevo.”
The story now takes place in the fictional present-day border town of La Mancha, Texas, with an all-Latinx cast starring Emilio Delgado, best known for his 45-year run playing Luis on Sesame Street. KJ Sanchez, founder of the documentary theater company American Records and co-writer of Berkeley Rep’s recent play X’s and O’s (A Football Love Story), makes her Cal Shakes directing debut with Solis’ Quixote.
Quixote Nuevo, June 13-July 1, Tue., Wed., Thu. 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Sat. 8 p.m.; Sun. 4 p.m.; Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda; $20-$87; 510-548-9666 or CalShakes.org.
This report originally appeared in our sister publication, The East Bay Monthly.