Don Quixote, Which Was a Dream

Bonjour Citygaragistes,

This weekend, by popular demand, we return with “Don Quixote, Which Was a Dream,” one of our most viewed productions, for our City Garage Classic. It’s a production from 2005, an adaptation of the novel by Kathy Acker which I did. If you missed it the first time, it’s really worth seeing: a great cast and a challenging text about gender, power, and politics. And on our web series “Animal Farm: Conversations on Theater and Politics with Steven Leigh Morris and Guests,” Steven talks with Broadway, TV, and film actor Thomas Sadoski about racial equity, recent events in Georgia, and more.

Here is a little more about “Don Quixote”

From the Los Angeles Times by David C. Nichols

At City Garage, Kathy Acker’s scabrous post-feminist crib from Cervantes gets a searing realization.

“Being dead, Don Quixote could no longer speak. Being born into and part of a male world, she had no speech of her own. All she could do was read male texts, which weren’t hers.”

That epigraph cements the point of “Don Quixote: Which Was a Dream” at City Garage. It cannot convey the emblematic perversity with which director-adaptor Frederique Michel, production designer Charles A. Duncombe and an amazing cast realize the 1986 novel by Kathy Acker.

The late Acker’s scabrous post-feminist crib from Cervantes is a profanity-drenched phylum unto itself. Multiple influences, William S. Burroughs being only the most obvious, orbit about “Don Quxote’s” title abortion-seeker (Sophia Marzocchi). Acker pulls this bipolar surrogate into a picaresque, politically questioning head trip, analogous to the paintings of Sherrie Levine.

Under Michel’s assured direction, the players show seamless commitment. Marzocchi is a lithe, enigmatic discovery with the arcane beauty of a Roman deity. The riveting Justin Davanzo casually enters his Hobbesian debate with David E. Frank’s tickling Nixon wearing only periwig and boots. Stephen Pocock becomes an imposing Angel of Death by simply standing before the wings adorning one of the set’s trees. Juni Buchér and Christie D’Amore inhabit their pansexual archetypes with gusto, and Maureen Byrnes deftly passes off the polymorphous narrative viewpoint.

Duncombe’s evocative décor suggests Levine having at Joseph Cornell’s id, while Josephine Poinsot’s costumes trace Jean Paul Gaultier details onto Jean Cocteau doodles. True, Michel’s adaptation is faithful to a fault. Acker’s cascading polemic and graphic poetry risks static repetition in the flesh. Yet, though “Don Quixote” needs either further distillation or an intermission, audiences up for provocative theater of ideas will find its adults-only dreamscape hypnotic.”

From the LA Weekly

June 17-23, 2005

by Steven Leigh Morris

“Director Frederique Michel’s adaptation of Kathy Acker’s novel is largely faithful to the spirit of the late post-punk novelist’s writing — a sexually obsessed, fetishistic stroll, barefoot, along a road strewn with shattered glass. Because Michel’s cast is so fresh-scrubbed attractive, Acker’s grunge aesthetic gets a facelift. What Acker borrowed from the tones of Miles Davis and the images of William Burroughs, Michel distills into something more like an S&M tango, comparatively formal, snappy and manicured — all dressed up and then, literally, stripped bare.

The play is a meaning-of-life examination of female identity, literature, sexuality and the connivances of oppression (Thomas Hobbes [Justin Davanzo] and Richard Nixon [David E. Frank] both put in cameos) through the dream-journey of a female Don Quixote (Sophia Marzocchi, a strong presence who really needs more range) during her abortion. She partners with a self-flagellating saint (Davanzo), who turns into a dog, and she meets the Angel of Death (Stephen Pocock), who hangs around for the play’s final quarter. The characters spout Acker’s oblique riffs with a higher regard for sound and inference than for structure or reason.

Michel’s physically crisp staging matches Charles Duncombe’s production design that includes projected motifs from Raphael to Paul Klee, and a highly symbolic set. The production, like Acker’s novel, is searching, groping for an alternative language in a world defined by abuse and brutality.”
Nudity, adult language

It will be showing on our City Garage YouTube channel from 8:00pm this Friday, April 23, through noon on Friday, April 30th.

It’s free to view but we ask people to make a donation if they can through our Chuffed page:
Merci to all of our generous donors of these last months during this difficult period. We so much appreciate your support. We hope soon we can start to make plans for re-opening and can’t wait to see you all again. In the meantime, stay safe, wear a mask, and get your shots!



(Left to right) Sophia Marzocchi, Christie D’Amore; photo: Paul Rubenstein