“It was an arbitrary decision – I was studying in Paris with the French master clown Philippe Gaulier and he said he thought Don Quixote was the funniest book in the world.
It was a classic that I vaguely knew about, so I decided to read it. It doesn’t really feel like a comedy. Cervantes actually wrote it in debtor’s prison. Before that, he’d been fighting for Spain, lost an arm, then was captured by pirates and was a slave for five years.
Unable to work when he finally escaped back to Madrid, he ended up in debtor’s prison. It was in these circumstances that he wrote the novel, so I think there is a bitterness to it.
Our interpretation is that individuals who take action outside of society’s norms in an attempt to change the world for the better are often punished for their behaviour. Nevertheless these ‘Quijote’s’ follow their dream, even if it is a hard path to take – and their actions are often adopted by society at large many years later – this production celebrates these individuals.
The show looks at that. We’re faithful to the spirit of the book, but not so much to the narrative – we use it as a jumping off point. There’s shadow puppetry, flamenco dancing and original music and we’re constantly pulling the rug from under audience’s feet.”