Don Quixote Jr.
Dragons and knights leap off the page and onto the stage this
weekend, as Appalachian Young People’s Theatre presents “The Adventures of Don Quixote.”
This youth-oriented adaptation of Miguel Cervantes’ literary masterpiece comes to Boone April 25 to 27, on the heels of AYPT’s most recent tour.
“Some people might not think about ‘Don Quixote’ as being a story for younger audiences,” said Teresa Lee, AYPT director and professor of theater at Appalachian State University. “In the original novel, it wasn’t intended to be like that, but if you think about it, certain elements would really appeal to the child in all of us.”
Adapted from Cervantes’ novel by Steven Fogell, the story follows the adventures of Alonso Quixano, who dreams of being a heroic knight. Appointing a stable hand, Sancho Panza, as his squire, Alonso adopts a knightly persona, dubbing himself Don Quixote and embarking on a legendary quest steeped in his own perceived heroics and chivalry.
Fogell’s adaptation, however, makes the duo’s adventures more family-friendly. For instance, in this version, Sancho is a young, orphaned stable boy. The play also takes literary device to a whole new level. Since Quixote is inspired by books of tales and chivalry, the characters literally leap from a giant book on stage.
“So, we see the story come to life,” Lee said. “Since all of the imaginary adventure comes out of the books (Quixote) was reading, the connection with young audiences is that reading can help enrich the imagination and inspire us to seek new adventures in our own lives.”
The story adapts quite well to children’s theater, Lee said, adding that while Cervantes’ more adult themes are withheld from the production, audiences will still revel at Quixote’s riveting battles with windmills, dragons and an enemy knight.
“We’ve had really good audience response,” she said. “It’s clever, it’s entertaining, and it also has a good moral to its story. There’s also a twist that’s not in the original work. It’s a little bit of a departure that I won’t give away. People will have to come and see.”
AYPT has toured the production throughout Western North Carolina, with an upcoming show in Charlotte and then the Outer Banks.
Although AYTP has been presenting to audiences from kindergarten through eighth grade, Lee said there’s something that audience members of all ages can take away.
“We look forward to being back on campus and sharing the show with the community,” she said.
Show times for “The Adventures of Don Quixote” are 7 p.m. Friday, April 25, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 26 and 27. All shows will be held in the I.G. Greer Studio Theatre, located on the side of I.G. Greer Hall, below the main auditorium.
Tickets cost $5 for children and $10 for adults and are available in person Monday through Friday at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts box office, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and at the Valborg Theatre box office, from 1 to 5 p.m. Tickets are also available by calling (828) 262-3063, visiting http://theatre.appstate.edu or stopping by I.G. Greer Studio Theatre before show time.
Appalachian Young People’s Theatre was founded in 1972, with a mission to bring high-quality, low-cost theater to young audiences throughout North Carolina.
Comprised entirely of ASU students, with the exception of Lee, the current company includes Courtney Adams, Sloane Hickson, Ian Lawrence, Christian Underwood and Taylor Anne Wade. Luke White serves as tour manager, while Melody Faith Marshall is stage manager. In addition, the students create the sets, design costumes and perform numerous other duties related to theater production.
For more information, visit http://theatre.appstate.edu/academics/special-programs/appalachian-young-peoples-theatre.