By Brian Robin
Reviewers Share What Makes “Quixote Nuevo” Special
“Move over, Man of La Mancha, and make a little room for Quixote Nuevo.”
Yes, Boston Globe theatre critic Don Aucoin went there. He compared Octavio Solis, the playwright behind Quixote Nuevo, with Miguel de Cervantes, who wrote Don Quixote, the book Solis based his critically acclaimed work on, which is considered the world’s first modern novel.
“Working from the expansive template of Miguel de Cervantes’s sprawling Don Quixote, playwright Octavio Solis has fashioned a highly inventive meditation on old age and its sorrows—and on the gnawing desire for second chances late in life—while also mining a rich vein of comedy. It’s a balancing act Cervantes might have admired.”
This level of storytelling would make lesser playwrights, well, tilt at windmills—earning comparisons to one of the world’s most enduring and greatest novelists, doing so in language that would make Cervantes proud, and keeping audiences laughing along the way. Solis manages to navigate that road in Quixote Nuevo, which opens SCR’s 60th season Sept. 30-Oct. 28 on the Segerstrom Stage.
Quixote Nuevo made its world premiere at Cal Shakes in the East Bay city of Orinda in June 2018.
“Octavio Solis’ cheeky new re-imagining of Cervantes’ Don Quixote mythology… throbs with wit and poignancy in its world premiere,” wrote Karen D’Souza in her review for the Bay Area Newspaper Group.
Solis’ work, which has been produced at theatres from the Bay Area to Boston, with productions in Hartford, greater Washington, D.C., Denver and Houston among others, is a modern take on Don Quixote bursting with imagination and Tejano music. The valiant knight – a.k.a. Jose Quijano – sets out to find his long-lost love. But nothing is as it seems, he gets lost in his fantasies and the community wrestles with his dangerous reality. This fast-paced fable about the joys and perils of being the hero of your own story was proclaimed “revelatory” by the San FranciscoChronicle.
Directed by Lisa Portes, who helmed the critically praised and award-winning Clean/Espejos at SCR in the spring of 2022, Quixote Nuevo also welcomes back Herbert Siguenza of Culture Clash to play Jose Quijano. Siguenza returns to SCR for the first time since he performed in Culture Clash (Still) in America in January, 2019.
Speaking of Siguenza, his performance in the Round House Theatre’s September 2021 production drew rave reviews for his multi-dimensional ability to capture all angles of Quijano’s personality.
“Herbert Siguenza turns out a solid performance, inflecting the role of Jose with comedy, sincerity and fragility. There are tender moments when Jose processes disappointments from his youth. And there are plenty of laughs as Jose marches through town, enmeshing unwitting bystanders in his fantasy,” wrote Nicole Hertvik in DC Theatre Arts.
Why not experience this poignant play for yourself? Tickets for Quixote Nuevo are on sale now.