"Man of La Mancha" Opens
Last night, DMTC's "Man of La Mancha" opened at the Varsity Theater. I was in the show as a Muleteer when we did it in Year 2000: this year, I was content to watch. The Year 2000 show was excellent, (and featured Rodger McDonald, Elizabeth Monet Nilsen, Robert Ponce, Warren Harrison, Troy Thomas, Nancy Agee, and Andrea Eve Thorpe).
The Year 2005 show is a triumph. The current cast (featuring Byron Westlund, Lauren Miller, Ryan Adame, J.D. Diefenbacher, John Hancock, Dannette Vassar, and Emily Beal) is on a par with the Year 2000 cast, but several elements are superior to the Year 2000 show:
- Considerably better set, featuring a textured rock-like backdrop and a realistic fireplace;
- the fight scene seemed to have been choreographed better than last time; and,
- better costuming.
This is Byron Westlund's first show with DMTC. He has a solid command of the stage, from years of experience in the Monterey and S.F. Bay area, and is one of the few people I've ever seen who can speak directly away from the audience, into the sound-absorbing back of the Varsity Theater, and can still be clearly understood, even towards the back of the sound-absorbing audience. Really an excellent choice for the role!
"Man of La Mancha" dates from the mid-1960's, and features a measured pace that can be deadly if abused, but has a nice cumulative impact when done well. There were very few pacing problems on opening night - the Aldonza abuse scene should probably be picked up a tad, maybe, but that's it. Indeed, the show seemed to have very few opening night problems at all (a few slight lighting and costuming difficulties maybe). I'm eager to see what the Davis Enterprise reviewer makes of it. A clearly superior show all around!