Quijote by Bambalina at Instituto Cervantes Manila

Last night, when Metro Manila was feverish, Miguel de Cervantes’ memorable characters, Don Quijote and Sancho Panza came alive as títeres or marionettes.

Quijote by Bambalina

Quijote by Bambalina

Don Quijote by Bambalina

Don Quijote by Bambalina

In 60 minutes, the talented and efficient duo of Àngel Fígols as Don Quijote and David Durán as Sancho Panza electrified the more than 100 people inside the Sálon de Actos at Instituto Cervantes Manila (ICM). Dressed in black, and with the venue cloaked in darkness, they opened the show with the deliberate lighting of candles and then the drama started. With a stack of books, two marionettes and an original language that sounded gibberish yet profoundly understandable at the same time, they succeeded in showing the vital parts of Don Quijote. They started with Don Quijote’s madness, his wanderings and misadventures with Sancho Panza, a cameo role of Dulcinea, the beatings Don Quijote received for being chivalrous, the dramatic appearance of the windmill, and the emotional deathbed scene. It was a virtual journey through the pages of Cervantes’ masterpiece, enhanced by the muted music in the background and the spectrum of emotions shown by the faces of the actors as they conveyed the inner struggles of their wooden marionettes.

Deathbed Scene of Don Quijote. The ball of hair is Sancho Panza.

Deathbed scene of Don Quijote (by Bambalina). The ball of hair is Sancho Panza.

Don Quijote and Sancho Panza at the end of Bambalina's performance.

Don Quijote and Sancho Panza at the end of Bambalina’s performance.

It was my first proper marionette show, and I was dazzled by the performance. It did not have fireworks for props but the simplicity of costumes, props and stage made the overall performance far more eloquent. It was a little ironic that they used only one or two Spanish phrases and the rest might have been borrowed from a distant cousin of Elvish languages, yet the audience remained enraptured. Moreover, I did not expect the level of physicality involved in a marionette show. Àngel and David did not use long strings to control Don Quijote and Sancho Panza respectively because they were Don Quijote and Sancho Panza. The puppets were parts of their bodies and they moved and felt as a fusion of man and marionette.

David Durán as Sancho Panza.

David Durán as Sancho Panza.

Àngel and David are members of Bambalina, “a vibrant Valencian puppetry company that retells the classic Spanish epic, Don Quijote, for adults”. The performance might have been geared for the mature audience, but there was a handful of children in the audience, and they enjoyed it as much as their elders did.

Àngeles González, Bambalina's company person, showed this kid how to hold a marionette/Sancho Panza.

Àngeles González, Bambalina’s company person, showed this kid how to hold a marionette/Sancho Panza.

Me with Bambalina's Don Quijote

Me with Bambalina’s Don Quijote

According to Àngel, Quijote by Bambalina is visiting Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and New Delhi next as part of their Asian tour. Quijote by Bambalina’s music is by Joan Cerveró and under the direction of Carles Alfaro.

Behind the scenes with David Durán and Àngel Fígols. Photos by SPRDC.

Behind the scenes with David Durán and Àngel Fígols. Photos by SPRDC.

David Durán and Àngel Fígols inside ICM Sálon de Actos

David Durán and Àngel Fígols inside ICM Sálon de Actos. Photo by SPRDC.

Me with David Durán or Sancho Panza.

Me with David Durán or Sancho Panza.

The autograph of David Durán or Sancho Panza. My name is Rous in Spanish. :)

The autograph of David Durán or Sancho Panza. My name is Rous in Spanish. 🙂

Me with Àngel Fígols or Don Quijote.

Me with Àngel Fígols or Don Quijote.

After the show with Don Quijote and Sancho Panza.

After the show with Don Quijote, my kind classmate named Hope and Sancho Panza.

With the boys of ICM. They helped in the show preparation. Photo by SPRDC.

With the boys of ICM. They helped in the show preparation. Photo by SPRDC.

For more information about Bambalina, please visit www.bambalina.es.

To know more about Instituto Cervantes Manila’s upcoming activities or if you want to learn Spanish, visit its website at http://manila.cervantes.es/en/default.shtm or its facebook page at  www.facebook.com/InstitutoCervantesManila.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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