In Miguel de Cervantes’ novels, Don Quixote was a lesser Spanish noble who became obsessed with romantic tales of chivalry. His literary obsession turned to self-delusion, as he came to imagine himself an old-fashioned knight, heart full with pure intentions in a world that had become weary and cynical.
This makes him a curious and somewhat tragic hero to aspire to, as Kerith Manderson-Galvin does in Being Dead (Don Quixote). In a consciously-unpolished performance, Manderson-Galvin is variously in character as Sancho the peasant-squire, Rocinante the nag of a horse, and, of course, as Don Quixote. And as these characters, Manderson-Galvin presents us with objects: references, quotes, memories and dreams. They weave them together into a larger presentation of clearly-articulated intentionality, candid and forthright honesty, and hard-won self-realisations.
Taken as a whole, the show is rich in layers. It is alternately funny, sweet, heartbreaking and triumphant.
Manderson-Galvin is a disarming host, and slowly builds a rapport with the audience. A rapport that becomes increasingly powerful by the end. The result is a memorable experience in which Cervantes, the Wizard of Oz, and cardboard cutouts are re-appropriated in service of a surreal, lovingly-crafted miasma.