Upon entering the venue for a performance, when one is first herded into a waiting room with other viewers and told that his or her safety is at risk when entering the theatre, expectations and enthusiasm for the show usually are not high. Despite any initial reservations that viewers may have had prior to seeing the Double Edge Theatre’s The UnPOSSESSED, however, these fears were quickly wiped away and replaced with astonishment and amazement once the performance began.
The UnPOSSESSED, which was a modern and intensely physical adaptation of Don Quixote literally brought Cervantes’ work to brand new heights. Using a combination of stilts, ladders, silks hung from the ceiling and puppetry, the cast of The UnPOSSESSED integrated heart-stopping acrobatics and beautiful imagery into the dialogue that kept audiences glued to the edge of their seats-both in awe and in fear for the performers’ safety.
Although the classic Cervantes novel is symbolic and meaningful on its own merit, for creator and director Stacy Klein, The UnPOSSESSED holds an even greater significance due to the modern source of its inspiration: the terrorist attacks of September 11. With performers throwing themselves, both body and mind, into the show and its symbolism, Klein’s messages were brought to life on stage in a way that allowed each actor and viewer to interpret them in their own manner. Jeremy Louise Eaton, who portrayed the characters of Teresa Panza and Altisidora, reflected on the hard work and training that went into the show.
“We train every day, six days a week” Eaton said, also noting that the training could be utilized to “improvise” or “create their own character” for the performances.
The level of dedication and preparation that went into the show was extremely evident to viewers as the cast members danced, sang, swung and spun around the Palace Theater this past Friday night.
Following the performance, Eaton expressed what she wished audiences would take from the show.
“My ultimate hope for the performance is that each person dreams their own story,” Eaton said. “We’re giving them a story and hoping they are meeting that.”
For first-year Axel Spaeh, the show fulfilled Eaton’s goals.
“It was an interesting interpretation of the story of Don Quixote. It is often difficult to adapt a novel to the stage but I felt that they did it in an interesting way,” Spaeh said. “[The performance showed that] if you believe in something, no matter how ridiculous it may be, you can change the world.”
The sense of optimism that cast members like Eaton hoped viewers would derive from the performance seemed to have been gleaned by audience members like Spaeh, strengthening confidence in their own abilities and dreams. After watching the characters of The UnPOSSESSED swing from ceiling and fly through the air to conquer their goals, it was difficult not to experience a sense of invincibility and determination, but here’s a disclaimer: when setting out to achieve a dream, perhaps it is safest not to try the silk swinging at home.