I was fortunate enough to be able to lurk in the shadows of Friday night's performance of PHAMALy's Man of La Mancha. It isn't what you think, I'm working on a little something for the blog, and I needed to be unobtrusive. (Though never doubt that I might be lurking in the shadows at any moment.)
I do love that show. I often feel such a kinship with Don Quixote de La Mancha. I have often been accused of tilting at windmills myself (as recently as last week). My causes are many.
Also, to see more in a person or a thing than anyone realized was there before is the kind of madness I can get behind. I have done that often enough, and I have been both adored and reviled for it - sometimes within minutes of one another and by the same person. I am I, Don Quixote, and perhaps I always will be.
If you want to read a review of the show, I recommend Juliet Wittman's in Westword, though I did spy John Moore in the audience so his may be forthcoming as well. Do read John's article on PHAMALy regular Leonard Barrett and his battle with MS, if you get a chance. It is a moving story.
I have heard a number of people exclaim that Man of La Mancha is PHAMALy's best show ever. I'm not sure I agree with that -- not because it wasn't very, very good, because it was -- but rather because PHAMALy has had so many amazing productions that I find it difficult to qualify one as being "the best."
Leonard Barrett as the title character is, well, Leonard Barrett. I am loathe to find words to describe what this man brings to the stage, so I propose that "Leonard Barrett" be sufficient description from now on. Perhaps, even, it can find its way into everyday life:
"Hey, that blueberry pie with ice cream sure looks good."
"Oh, yes, it is totally Leonard Barrett!"
Regan Linton as the fiery Aldonza brings to the role every bit of talent and creation that earned her a best actress award from the Colorado Theatre Guild. I'm lost for words to describe her performance as well, but perhaps it is for the best, since I am incapable of any objectivity where Regan is concerned. I am not alone in this affliction. To call this woman "remarkable" would be a gross understatement.
PHAMALy is arguably Denver's favorite theatre company and refuses to rest on its laurels or settle in as a "token" group, which they could easily do, and no one would fault them for it.
I am always in awe of these performers, for many of whom singing, dancing, even moving is only done with great personal effort and no small amount of peril.
I was reminded backstage of how being able to catch oneself from falling when tripping over something in the dark is an ability that I and many others take for granted.
The word "inspiring" has been robbed of its meaning by the countless reality shows who use it in meaningless platitudes.
I would like to take that meaning back now, thank you.
PHAMALy is inspiring.