Tom Frankland and Keir Cooper are bringing Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quijote into the modern day. Finding and sharing the quests of those who have tried against all odds to achieve unachievable goals, Don Quijote attempts to find our own quests in our frantic lives. Using live music, text and visual images, Frankland and Cooper create a space in which you expect the unexpected and leave riled up, prepared to change something. Even the smallest of adventures can make a difference.
Using a guest performer each evening, it is hard to write much beyond my own personal experience – which was unique amongst those attending the performance. Having dressed Adura Onashile in armour from scrap materials, and watched a series of shadows dance and play across the walls within Summerhall, I was selected to join Onashile on her quest. At this point I left the performance space and didn’t return until the last ten minutes. What happened within the space and the stories told, whilst being linked to my own adventure beyond the space, are hard to judge.
Nonetheless, a quest was made. Travelling to a nearby cafe and discovering the stories used within the performance, Onashile and I discovered our own misgivings about the world and attempted to make them right. Drawing upon personal experiences of life and the untold stories around us, we created our own quest. The quest itself is irrelevant, for it was personal to me, but the act of being pushed to the limit and asked to dream big was where this part of the performance captured my heart.
Riding on horses, and now donning my own armour, we traveled back to the performance space and delivered our quest to the audience. The involvement, whilst completely bizarre and wonderful in equal measures, is hard to pitch in relation to the performance, so it’s worth experiencing what happens within the room (I’ve heard that a buzz saw is used to spectacular effect!) to get the full experience. Nonetheless, being taken on an adventure unlike any other during the height of the Edinburgh Fringe left me smiling from ear to ear and, judging by the sound as we waited outside the performance space, there’s quite a storm that is kicked up during the piece. With a glorious ending of paper flying above and around our heads, this is certainly an experience, it’s just what you take from it that matters, and how you apply this to the rest of the world around you.
Don Quijote is playing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival until 24 August. For more information and tickets, see the Edinburgh Fringe website.