It's a 47-year-old musical based on a 400-year-old novel, but Eric Davis said Man of La Mancha has never felt more timely.
"I think it's really topical right now," Davis said. "The idea of the disenfranchised and why their voices aren't heard, the idea of being captive in a state ruled by religious fervor, those are things that are always topical."
Davis is directing a new production of Man of La Mancha that's set to open Friday at St. Petersburg's FreeFall Theatre.
The musical is, of course, based on Miguel Cervantes' 17th century novel Don Quixote and tells the story of a delusional and irrepressible man who sees beauty and nobility in the most mundane objects, people and actions. Inns and innkeepers become castles and kings; prostitutes become princesses.
In the 1965 musical, which is most widely known for its towering anthem The Impossible Dream, the action takes place in a prison cell. Cervantes is imprisoned during the Spanish Inquisition, and with fellow inmates he acts out the exploits of Don Quixote.
Set designer Steven Mitchell has turned the entire performance space into an impressionistic prison cell. The audience sits on chairs, sofas and set pieces scattered around the stage, so the action takes place all around them.
Man of La Mancha runs through July 17 at FreeFall Theatre. Preview today is at 7 p.m. ($20). Opens at 8 p.m. Friday, with shows at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Wednesday and Sunday. $32-$47; $3 discount for students and seniors. (727) 498-5205. freefalltheatre.com.
Marty Clear, Times correspondent