Alexander Morfov >> works >> theatre productions >> Don Quixote | Et Cetera Theatre

Don Quixote 

Et Cetera Theatre, Moscow, Russia 

premiere 2 October 1999, Main stage 



Set design and costumes 





Miguel de Cervantes 

Alexander Morfov 

Edward Kochergin  

Alexander Iliev  

Alexander Morfov 

100 min., with intermission 

Alexander Kalyagin, Vladimir Simonov, Maria Skosyreva, Viktor Verzhbitskiy, Olga Belova, Alexandr Davydov, Tatyana Vladimirova, Marina Churakova, Nikolay Molochkov, Natalya Blagih, Alena Ivchenko, Alexandr Jogol, Andrey Kondakov, Aleksey Osipov, Sergey Plotnikov, Vladimir Skvortsov, Natalya Zhitkova 

The project is a co-production between

Et Cetera Theatre and the Russian Theatre Agency 

A production about events that will openly reveal themselves to the one who witnesses them, if only one's eyes are sincere. 

- A few years ago you staged “Don Quixote” at your National Theatre [Bulgaria]. Why did you decide to turn again to Cervantes’ novel?

- I read “Don Quixote” for the first time back in my school years. After that I’ve returned to it many times and each time there was something new to find. I can compare this novel to a file that is saved and is waiting for you to open it once again. Of course, I might be wrong for certain things, but I’m honest. The director is also a Don Quixote. 

- What is the main idea found in your production?

- I’ve been long interested in mythological personalities. For instance we know that if there’s a smiling person with moustache, it’s Einstein. We know his connection to the theory of relativity but we never think about what he actually did, what is his place in the world of physics, in the world as a whole. I’m trying to oppose such superficial concepts.  We  are  used  to the image of  Don  Quixote as a tall,  thin man, somewhat crazy, a

little aged, who thinks of himself as of a knight-errant. I find Don Quixote a normal person, wise and very dignified. He has come a far way to realise that there is nothing more important in this world than dignity. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are the same person. Everyone who was once born as Sancho Panza must evolve to a Don Quixote and vice versa because the world keeps shaking. Beckett was quite right saying in “Waiting for Godot” that for each one who begins to weep, somewhere else another stops.

- Why did you decide to stage your “Don Quixote” at the Et Cetera Theatre?

- I had just seen for yet another time Nikita Mikhalkov’s film “An Unfinished Piece for the Player Piano” and thought that Alexander Kalyagin is an actor who can embody my Don Quixote. Then I had a lucky meeting with the producer David Smelyansky who presented me to Kalyagin. He loved the idea. He said that he was offered the role of Sancho Panza a thousand times but he had always refused because it’s the more superficial one. This is how my destiny brought me to the Et Cetera Theatre.

- The set design and the costumes for your production are created by one of the most distinguished theatre artists Edward Kochergin. What are your relations?

- I’m afraid of the classics. They remind me of a marble statue impossible to argue with, and that’s why I was afraid of meeting with a classic such as Kochergin. But it turned out that there is not a hint of academism in him. I was stunned to see a man of this grandeur who had preserved his ability for instant improvisation. I don’t know what the production will prove to be but can say with certainty that his work is beautiful.

Excerpts from an interview with Alexander Morfov by Elena Vladimirova, Moskovskie novosti, 7.09.1999

read the whole interview here 

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Award given by the Mayor of Moscow city - Alexander Kalyagin, Leading Male Role in "Don Quixote", role: Don Quixote

TV-6 Chaika ["seagull"] Award - Alexander Kalyagin and Vladimir Simonov, Leading Male Roles in "Don Quixote", category: Double win 


"Morfov completely reshapes the character of Sancho. We don't see an antipode of Don Quixote here, nor his alter ego. His common sense is certainly not more that than of his proud leader. This seems to host the expected final metamorphosis. The elder Don Quixote, having long lost faith in his noble vocation, leaves his armor to his servant who still believes in dwarfs and giants. Putting on the armor, Sancho starts resembling the classical Don Quixote. He, now, starts for a journey not around the lands, but a journey through time. Leaving reality and heading to a myth."

A Journey from Reality to a Myth | Marina Davydova, Vremya MN, 08.10.1999 


"In Morfov's staging there are many gags but the plot does not completely rely on those. The redacted and the added scenes to Cervantes' novel are positioned between an interpretation of the novel and a postmodern commentary on it... The main reflection in this "Don Quixote" is on the leading character who is expected to embody the world's quixotism taken as a virus that wins over your body and sends you on a heroic quest. The question of whether it brings to the people around you more benefits rather than harms, is left open. And it triggers the never-ending the discussion between the two - whether humanity is awaiting them or it is deathly tired of them. In this production the idea of continuity (or, infectiousness) of the quixotism is not only distinct, but also visually -  with video projection on the curtain over the avant-scene: the new Don Quixote, once Sancho Panza, runs down the stairs in the theatre lobby and goes out of the doors on the street [Noviy Arbat st.]. But the one who's overcome this madness is more interesting. It is worth it going to the theatre just to see how Kalyagin performs in his final scene. How he takes his last quest - stumbling with a crutch; how he calmly talks to himself "I'm falling." and decides to go no farther; how he sits, just like Platonov in Mikhalkov's film, confused, covered in a granny's cloak, trembling with pity and embarrassment... Being defeated is not an impersonation of masculinity, it is a very human one, a successful impersonation for him at that."

Alexander Kalyagin Reached Don Quixote | Roman Dolzhansky, Kommersant, 08.10.1999 

"A myth is born in front of our eyes and nobody dares to question it. The moral is more important than the truth. The legend is more important that the person. The objective reality is pitiful and absurd: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, shabby and tired, are slowly walking through a swamp. And when they reach a pit in their way - a neglectable obstacle compared to what they've seen earlier, the knight stops. He cannot, he does not want to go further and he now believes in nothing. His only wish is to quit from everything and go back home, buy a flock of sheep and become a shephard. There is a miserable, tired, devastated old man in front of us, covered with an old blanket. And as it seems he had been long waiting for this pit on the road - the game is over, unfinished, and yet over."

The New Romanticist, Sancho Panza | Ilya Ognyov, Obshtaya gazeta, 28.10.1999 


The Last Temptation of Don Quixote | Pavel Rudnev, Nezavisimaya gazeta, 14.10.1999

Don Idiot | Arseniy Suhoverov, Nedelya, 14.10.1999

Don Quixote | Anna Kuznetsova, Profil, 01.11.1999

A Naive Don Quixote | Elena Gubaydullina, Teatralny kurier, 01.11.1999

What sort of committee is it, creator? | Evgenia Tropp, Petersburg Theatre Journal, 01.03.2000

On Shylock and Don Quixote | Inna Solovyeva (Bazilevskaya), Ekran i scena, 01.08.2000