School to see Quixote updated to Castro's era

March 04, 1993|By Victor Alvarez | Victor Alvarez,Contributing Writer

Before Julian Domenech became headmaster of the Severn School, the native Cuban witnessed the rise of Fidel Castro.

Tonight at the school, "Man of LaMancha" will be performed with an altered script influenced by the Cuban revolution.

The play, a condensation of Cervantes' "Don Quixote," deals with a man combating disorder and dishonesty in a world of realism, where the dent he makes is small.

Mr. Domenech, who escaped to the United States 30 years ago, developed the idea of transforming the play last summer with the director, Eric Van DeVort, a faculty member.

The play originally revolved around the Spanish Inquisition, but Mr. Van DeVort said he and Mr. Domenech have brought it forward in time to make it more applicable to students.

"I've always had the idea that theater can be a learning experience for an audience," said Mr. Van DeVort. "When you are dealing with oppression of people, Cuba is like the Inquisition."

The play carries a cast and crew of 32 people, who got firsthand insight into the Cuban revolution from Mr. Domenech.

"We have tied in some of Julian's real-life experiences with the play itself," said Mr. Van DeVort. "He spent some time familiarizing the cast with his escape."

This is not the first time Mr. Van DeVort has altered a script to make it more readily accessible to teen-agers. The director has changed scripts carefully for the sake of what he calls "educational theater."

Three years ago, the school produced a version of "Ordinary People," a play in which a high school student attempts suicide, accompanied by a seminar on teen suicide.

"We want to bring the students closer to national events that may concern them. Oppression is very real in our lives," Mr. Van DeVort said. "If we confront it, then maybe we can do something about it."

The show has been sold out. For information, call 647-7700.

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