VIU Theatre Students Present Man of la Mancha March 6-15

February 27, 2014 - 8:00am

Vancouver Island University (VIU) Theatre students will present Man of La Mancha, one of Broadway’s most enduring musicals, as their Spring production March 6 through 15 in VIU’s Malaspina Theatre.

Man of La Mancha, presented as a “play within a play”, is based on the timeless and classic adventures of Don Quixote performed by Miguel de Cervantes as he and his fellow prisoners await a hearing before the Spanish Inquisition. As the concepts of honour and chivalry continue to lose their meaning in our modern day leaders and role models, Cervantes’ themes of ‘hope and honour above all’ appear even more relevant today.

Theatre diploma student Cassie Smith says she loves being involved in the entire process of staging a play as it unfolds in the weeks leading to opening night. As stage manager for the production, she is intimately involved in every detail, from scheduling rehearsals to integrating props and costumes, to overseeing the coordination of scripts for musical direction and the actors on stage.

A Calgary native, Smith got involved in stage production in Grade 9, and by the end of high school had travelled to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a play developed at her school.

Skills that Smith says she continues to hone in VIU’s Theatre program include project management, organization, multi-tasking under intense pressure, and critical thinking. When she completes the program this spring, those skills will be added to her application for an internship in stage management at The Julliard School in New York City. If that doesn’t work out, she’ll also have applications out to complete a Theatre degree at several Canadian universities, and, at her top choice, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

As set designer for this production, and five previous plays at VIU, Brian Ball says he enjoys working with students over several years, watching them explore all aspects of stage craft and finding their niche.

It’s not uncommon, says Ball, to get to know students who study Theatre as a minor in the Bachelor of Arts program over four years, and then see them return again to volunteer as alumni on a Theatre production.

“They come back to volunteer because they love the environment,” he says.

The original production of Man of La Mancha ran for 2,328 performances and won five Tony awards. The play has been revived four times on Broadway and produced in dozens of languages around the world. The play’s principle song “The Impossible Dream” has become an American standard.

Directed by Ross Desprez, with musical direction by Greg Bush, sets by Ball and lighting by Tammy Elliott, the production promises to inspire the impossible dream in everyone. The play runs from March 6 thru March 15 with a special Sunday matinee March 9. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and can be reserved by calling the Box Office at 250.740.6100.


Shari Bishop Bowes, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University
P:250.740.6443 C: 250.618.1535 E: T: @viunews

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