It’s a madcap, hare-brained, ridiculous idea that no sane theatre company would ever consider.
So, obviously Creation jumped at the chance to stage the 16th century novel Don Quixote in Oxford’s Covered Market.
As if that wasn’t enough – not only have Oxford’s famous theatre company continued its in-the-round penchant for novel locations, but has set Miguel de Cervantes’s masterpiece in the present.
So instead of Don Quixote de la Mancha’s obsession with chivalry accompanied by his faithful side-kick Sancho Panza, we are faced with Dom and Sam – two disheartened old men who decide to go on a road trip and remind Britain about etiquette and good manners.
They drive a wreck of a car, have little money and even less of a plan, but dress for dinner and espouse James Bond wherever possible.
And who better to steer this rumbustous project than director Jonathan Holloway, he of Creation’s 1984 and Brave New World successes, who adapted the script personally.
Which begs the question why? “The title came first, and then the location and I tend to direct things for Creation that aren’t in theatres,” he says.
“The Covered Market, which is one of Oxford’s most historic venues, seemed perfect because it fits the post industrial landscape I was searching for and the show fits the space.
“So there is a real joy for the audience, by bringing them the unexpected, something totally different to what they are expecting”
More than that, this version offers a more relevant insight into ’third-agers’, as Jonathan puts it: “There is a reality to it, because it is set in two time-frames and in the second one of the characters is heading towards dementia, so I hope afterwards the audience will go away and think about that and maybe when they see an old man shuffling down the road, they will consider who he is and what he has achieved.”
So was The Covered Market keen to come on board? “Absolutely, especially in these challenging times. They are excited about staging new events there and this showcases a piece of Oxford’s history, out of hours, and brings new visitors in.”
Creation’s Don Quixote opens on Friday and runs until the end of September.
So is Jonathan happy with his, excuse the pun, creation? “Quietly confident yes. I have worked with these two actors for over 30 years now and wrote the adaption with their voices in my head, and them in mind. So we will just have to see.”
Tickets for Don Quixote at creationtheatre.co.uk