After reading countless knightly romances, an impoverished noble proclaims himself Don Quixote of La Mancha and takes upon himself the honourable task of protecting people against evil. He gives his old worn-out horse the sonorous name of Rocinante, finds a trusty squire in the only seemingly naive Sancho Panza, and embarks on a series of heroic acts to win glory and impress a simple farm girl alias Dulcinea of Toboso. Yet his battles mostly end in brutal defeat, leading Sancho Panza to dub Don Quixote "the knight of the sad countenance".
After an eventful life, Miguel de Cervantes was in prison when he began writing the first part of Don Quixote, his 1605 novel that marks the advent of modern literature. With an infinitely creative fantasist as the eponymous hero, the novel was a repudiation of the shackles of reality. Don Quixote only truly acquires his identity, however, when he teams up with the much more pragmatic Sancho Panza. It wasn't long before the two characters became famous – something they refer to themselves in Part Two, which came out ten years later. The madcap duo have lost none of their iconic status today. In the version by Jakob Nolte, premiered here, they go through their (imagined) adventures all by themselves.
In this coproduction, the famous couple will be played by an equally well-matched duo, Ulrich Matthes and Wolfram Koch. These two greats of the acting profession will join stage director Jan Bosse – a man with a feel for the fantastical and a great storyteller – in a theatrical and socio-political role play that explores the twin questions of what exactly the appeal is of being another person, and whether we couldn't use a Don Quijote today as a way of countering the blinkered faith in the future and one-dimensional thinking of our day and age with something utopian.
with Ulrich Matthes, Wolfram Koch
Stage director Jan Bosse
Stage designer Stéphane Laimé
Costume designer Kathrin Plath
Music Arno Kraehahn
Dramaturg David Heiligers