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Noble and naive, Don Quixote tilts at windmills

DON Quixote, the whimsical, idealistic and somewhat crazed Spanish knight, continues his adventures in Shanghai - in Chinese.

As part of the Spain Pavilion's celebration at the World Expo Shanghai, the play "Don Quixote" will be staged from July 1 to 4 at the Shanghai Grand Theater.

The adaptation from the novel by Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) - a satire of chivalric beliefs and conduct - will be performed in Mandarin with Spanish subtitles.

China's leading avant-garde theater director Meng Jinghui says that the play is one of his proudest works in recent year. It stars Guo Tao as the cavalier, known for tilting at windmills.

"I really hope that Chinese audiences will go to the theater to learn about the most outstanding work in the Spanish literature history," says Maria Tena, Spain Pavilion commissioner general. "Director Meng has vividly displayed Don Quixote's idealism in his own ways."

The play made a successful debut in Beijing last year, after Meng visited Barcelona for inspiration in the summer.

"I have followed the route of Don Quixote to la Mancha, where he originally comes from," Meng says. "One day when I was standing on the beach, I suddenly felt as if I was having a conversation with the classic literature character from over 400 years ago."

He describes the play as a dialogue between himself and Cervantes, who wrote about "the world's most beautiful thoughts."

"I wish I could be as crazy as Don Quixote," he says. "He is a combination of idealism and romanticism. Sometimes he acts like a naive child but sometimes he appears to be a philosopher with such deep thoughts."

The play features monologues of Don Quixote through which he expresses his perplexed and unrealistic thoughts.

Meng has incorporated his signature witty, sarcastic language, making it more accessible to the Chinese audience.

The show will feature dazzling multimedia visual arts, Spanish dances and folk songs.

"Anyone who loves arts and drama would fall for Don Quixote; and I believe that everyone, at a certain time in his/her life, would wish to be as fearless as Don Quixote, at least once," says the director.

After Shanghai, the play will tour Australia, Mexico and Spain.

Date: July 1-4, 7:30pm

Tickets: 80-580 yuan

Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater, 300 People's Ave

Tel: 6386-8686


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