April 18, 2017
By: Bonnie Lambert
Don Juan. The man. The myth. The legend.
Whether you can recall only the basic details of his legacy or have read every version you can get your hands on, everyone knows the name: a reckless scoundrel who is (in)famous for seducing women of all ages and stations in life. He is the original playboy, a charming knave you love to hate.
And Southwestern University is bringing his story to campus.
But this production will not be one of the numerous, well-established adaptations that have been written over the years, from Moliere’s play “Don Juan” to Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni.” No, this is an original piece, a lecture-performance produced by a collaboration between the music and theatre departments.
Drawing upon music and scenes from previous installments of the legend of Don Juan, Dr. Sergio Costola has synthesized all kinds of interpretations and critical analyses to tell the story with a slight twist. Comedic scenes in which the man himself and his servant play off of each other are interspersed with informative lectures given by two warring professors and an absentee mother figure. Commenting on these glimpses into the life of Don Juan are arias composed by Dr. Jason Hoogerhyde, accompanied by the ever watchful gaze of the Chorus of Desire, reminiscent of the Greek chorus style of old. This quick paced tour through the history of Don Juan is accompanied by large-scale projections and videos.
This piece has been in development for nearly a year and has gone through many revisions and rewrites during the process. Because it is an original show, devised by Southwestern faculty and students, the creators, designers, and performers have been working with a production that is always in a state of flux, and everyone involved has learned to work collaboratively.
“It’s been a fascinating process,” sophomore Tristin Evans, an actress in the show, said. “I’ve never been a part of a show where I’ve gotten to see all the pieces fall into place slowly over time. There are a lot of moving parts to this particular production and a lot of different ideas have been thrown around as to how to make them all work together, so there’s been a bit of a learning curve, but it’s really interesting to work with everyone to figure the show out as we go.”
Tickets for “Don Juan” are on sale now at the Sarofim School of Fine Arts Box Office. Performance dates are April 21-23 in the Alma Thomas Theatre, and the show only runs one weekend, so be sure to get your tickets soon!