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Fringe 2004: Doña Quixote

Anda Flamenco returned to the world-famous Fringe Festival in August 2004 to present "Doña Quixote: A Flamenco Comedy." The show was pre-selected as one of the year's "Best Bets" by Fringe executive director Leah Cooper, based on the enthusiastic audience reception of Anda's 2002 comedy, "Que Será, Será."

Doña Quixote: A Flamenco ComedyThe show's signature graphic was chosen from over 1500 images to headline a Wallstreet Journal article previewing 2004 Fringe Festivals worldwide. The synopsis of Doña Quixote was also chosen to represent all the shows in the Minneapolis Fringe Festival in that same article.

Staged at the Theater Garage in Minneapolis, the Anda Flamenco production was directed by veteran coach Molly Culligan who taught the cast the fine art of comedic timing.

The Story

The show opened in an icehouse on an unnamed Minnesota lake, where a local book club was reading "Doña Quixote, The Woman from La Minnesota." The novel sprang to life in the imaginations of the ice-fisher-persons (singer María Elena "La Cordobesa," music director Trevor May, and fellow guitarists Greg Wolfe and Dave Elrod) as it was read to them aloud by a most flamboyant fisher-guy (guitarist Mike Ziegahn).

The novel's heroine, Doña Quixote, was a middle-aged Minnesota gal with an impossible dream—to dance flamenco in Spain (wearing a cape, no less...), and was danced by the show's creator and choreographer, Kristina de Sacramento.

The winds of good fortune, disguised as a blizzard, blew Doña Quixote to La Mancha along with her doubting and guileless girlfriend, Sancha Panzasson (danced with great comic flair by Virginia "La Chispita").

Mounted upon their trusty steeds, the string mop Rocinante and Sancha's stick-mule, the pair of women toured Spain while dancing a lively "zapateado" (a flamenco form consisting of guitar and footwork, reminiscent of horses' hooves). Along the way, they encountered an enchanted flamenco dancer disguised as a windmill (artfully and gracefully danced by Vicky García, Anda’s guest artist from Madrid, who brought exquisite delicacy and feminity to her role). Only Doña Quixote was able to see the enchantress dancing a "caña" ( a soulful flamenco form), the fringe of her giant "mantón" (shawl) and the tail of her "bata de cola" (a flamenco skirt with a long train) whipping up the wind. Because Doña Quixote saw the woman within the windmill, the enchantress blessed her with "gracia" (the elegance and flair every flamenco dancer hopes to bring to the dance).

On the way to Madrid, Doña Quixote succumbed to the charms of the "chulo" (procurer) Dulcineo, played by the devilish Ramon Miranda. Posing as a flamenco teacher, Dulcineo borrowed flamenco moves from his companion, Anna "La Púa" (Anna the Thorn), as fast as he could sell them to the eager Doña Quixote, until an unimpressed Sancha snapped the purse strings shut. The ladies rode on to Madrid while Dulcineo and his púa (the witty and talented dancer Anna Natt, visiting artist from Sevilla) continued to bicker over euros to the strains of Hernando's Hideaway, turned more-or-less into "tangos flamencos."

Once in Madrid, Sancha updated her Minnesota look with a sexy Spanish outfit, and her delighted hips instantly taught her some very cool flamenco moves. For her part, Doña Quixote diligently and soulfully pursued her cape work studies. Meanwhile, the ice-fisher-persons had become so engrossed in the story that they suddenly, magically found themselves inside it, becoming flamenco musicians onstage in a Madrid "tablao" (flamenco nightclub) of their collective imagination.

Doña Quixote, wrapped in a cape, and Sancha with her new-found hips arrived at the tablao just in time to order a drink from the waiter (who looked a lot like the chulo, Dulcineo) before the lights dimmed for the show. Two dancers (who looked a lot like the enchanted windmill and Anna "La Púa") took to the stage for a spirited "solea por bluerias" (a very rhythmic flamenco form). Doña Quixote, overwhelmed by excitement, leapt to her feet in the middle of their duet and proceeded to dazzle the audience—and herself as well—with a flashy farruca (the quitessential "man's dance"), expertly wielding her enormous cape. Thunderous applause brought her back to reality, the reality that she had just actually danced flamenco onstage in Spain (wearing a cape, no less...) Everyone, including Sancha, converged onstage for a "fiesta por seguiriyas" (a flamenco oxymoron—the seguiriyas form is not at all festive) before all the characters danced themselves offstage, back onto the pages of the book...but not before the audience had a sing-along to the refrain from "The Impossible Dream."

Anda Flamenco, in the tradition of Hollywood, sold product-placement spots to help cover the production costs. To highlight the placements, we combined them with stop-action moments featuring the logos of our sponsors, carried on and off stage by our onstage--stagehands, Cather Raetzman and Lynn Schultz, students at Anda Flamenco School. Our generous and inspiring sponsors for this show were, in order of their appearance: Toro, Chippewa Springs Water, Caribou Coffee, Alexis Bailey Vineyard, and Manny's Tortas. To them, another heartfelt thank you for helping to bring Doña Quixote into being!

 

 
   
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