Alan Cohen (left) as Sancho Panza and Brett Goldman plays Don Quixote/Miguel de Cervantes in the LOGON production of Man of La Mancha

“To dream the impossible dream, to fight the unbeatable foe,

To bear with unbearable sorrow, to run where the brave do not go.”

Following its widely praised, lavish production of Beauty & the Beast, Israel's veteran English-speaking musical theater company, The Light Opera Group of the Negev (LOGON), becomes more somber this upcoming season with its staging of the musical drama, Man of La Mancha.

The award-winning and frequently revived musical is inspired by Miguel de Cervantes' classic masterpiece Don Quixote. A play within a play, Man of La Mancha is set in a dungeon of the Spanish Inquisition in about 1600.

Cervantes has been thrown into prison with his manservant, Sancho Panza. He defends himself in a mock trial before his fellow inmates who accuse him of being ''a bad poet, an idealist and an honest man”. Cervantes, also a man of the theater, responds by performing the story of the delusional knight, Don Quixote, as he awaits a summons from the Inquisition.

Don Quixote retreats into fantasies that turn an unspeakably evil, corrupt world into something splendid, describing this through the best known song from the show, “To Dream the Impossible Dream”.

At a certain point in Cervantes’ performance, the character, Dr. Carrasco, expresses his fear of having a madman in his prospective new family. “There are no giants. No kings under enchantment. No chivalry. No knights ... These are facts,” he says to Don Quixote, who replies, “Facts are the enemy of truth.”

Yaacov Amsellem, directing LOGON again for the seventh year, points to this particular phrase as “the key to the whole play, which is about the right to imagine, the right to dream. Dr. Carrasco does everything in his power to see that Don Quixote doesn’t dream because this is threatening and frightening.”  "Don Quixote", says Amsellem, "represents the idealist and dreamer in all of us." “From the most hopeless, grey reality, Cervantes – through Don Quixote – begins to bring some color to his surroundings.”

Man of La Mancha, which debuted on Broadway in 1965, was written by Dale Wasserman with music and lyrics by Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion. A Hebrew–language version was staged in Israel in the 1960s, and the song “The Impossible Dream” in Hebrew became a local popular hit, as it was in France. The famous Belgian singer-songwriter, Jacques Brel, produced an entire album of the songs from the play in French (L'Homme de la Mancha.)

LOGON is the only English language theater group performing throughout the country and whose ticket sales support local charitable organizations like ESRA.

ESRA will be selling tickets for Man of La Mancha performances in Modiin on Sunday March 9 and in Raanana on Tuesday March 18, respectively.

More information about performances and dates for other locations at:  www.negevlightopera.com

Tickets can be ordered as follows:

Modiin: The performance at Modiin Hechal Hatarbut should be ordered from ESRA 052 747 2151

Raanana: The performance at Yad LaBanim should be ordered from ESRA Raanana, 09 748 8957.

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About the author

Patricia (Patti) Golan

Patricia (Patti) Golan is a veteran journalist who has lived in Israel since 1969. Among other positions, she was the Middle East correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, Radio and Voice of...
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