Talking to the Director of "Man of La Mancha"
Tackling the huge job of directing Man of La Mancha is my pal Eddie Harbert, and he graciously agreed to answer a few questions for an e-interview about the show.
Q: You've had a busy fall, directing the Guns and Hoses Benefit Concert and now Man of La Mancha - when do you sleep?
Eddie: The nice thing is that I don't really require a lot of sleep! I only sleep about 3 - 4 hours per night... something I inherited from my dad. Besides, you always find time to do the things that you love, and I love doing theatre!
Q: Why did you want to tackle this show?
Eddie: I really feel that this is a good time in our country's history to do this show. The story of Don Quixote is about finding the good in things even when you find yourself in difficult situations. Our country is currently coming out of a recession, we are currently at war, crime is at an all-time high and atrocities are all around us. I believe that we all need to hear the message of Don Quixote which is to "look for treasure where there is only trash." I think we all need to have the spirit of Don Quixote and try to add "a measure of grace to the world" and reach for the "unreachable star."
The other reason that I wanted to do this show is that it has not been done in our area in 30 years, and I felt it would be a great show to reintroduce to those who know it already as well as a new generation who have never seen it before.
Q: Talk about some of the outstanding cast you get to work with...
Eddie: I am very privileged to work with such a wonderful group of actors. Ryan Hardiman plays the dual role of Miguel de Cervantes/Don Quixote, Marina Jurica is Aldonza, Mike Murdock is Sancho, Jane Morse is the governor, and Dave Benton plays the barber.
All of those names are familiar to theatregoers here in the Huntington/Ashland area. I also have a group of supporting characters who are just as wonderful. Before I do a show, I always ask God to send me the actors who need to be a part of any production that I do. I truly believe that the group of people who come together to do a project, from the actors to the tech crew, are the people that are meant to come together to create the wonderful piece of theatre that we do. It is worth the ticket price just to hear the cast sing. Seeing the show is a bonus!
Q: The show includes some challenging songs - any concerns about that?
Eddie: The songs from this show all have a Spanish flavor to them which has been challenging for the actors to sing and for the musical director to produce. We are not using a traditional orchestra for this production. Modern technology allows us to use a keyboard into which we program each of the instruments individually to produce the sound of a full orchestra. We actually only have two musicians playing the show but will have the sounds of an 8 - 10 piece orchestra. All the instrument sounds had to be individually programed into the keyboard by our music director, Mike Campbell, to make it sound like an orchestra. It is a very time-consuming process but so worth it in the end. I think the music will be remembered by the audience long after the show is over.
Q: Tell us the dates, times and place for Man of La Mancha.
Eddie: The show will be performed at the Jean Carlo Stephenson Auditorium in City Hall at the corner of 5th Avenue and 8th Street in Huntington. Dates for the show are October 16-18 and 23-25. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday matinees begin at 2:30 p.m. There is reserved seating so reservations are recommended. Tickets can be purchased by calling (304) 696-5522. Tickets will also be available at the door.
Thanks, Eddie! Tomorrow we'll hear from Don Quixote himself!