In the year 1966, a new play was written. That fact didn’t mean anything, but what the play was about couldn’t help but draw attention. It was a musical, based on the story Don Quixote, written by Miguel de Cervantes. The book is large. Very large. I should know, I had to read it for school. The fact that the influential story was condensed into a play was attractive to the public, and it became a success. The play, Man of La Mancha by name, is much more popular than the book. Why? Well, most people would rather sit in a seat and watch a play than read hundreds of pages of difficult passages. Also, the moral of the story was clearer.
In the story, Don Quixote is a normal man who drives himself crazy by reading too many stories about knights and chivalry. He takes it upon himself to become a ‘knight errant’, and he vows to rid the world of evil….. by attacking windmills and herds of sheep. What a nutcase, right? Well, yes. He’s a lunatic, but he’s also the only person in the whole story who actually makes sense.
For illustration, Aldonza is one of the main characters in the play, and she’s not exactly a heroin. She was born and forgotten by “…a mother who left me…” and she was considered the lowest of low society. When Don Quixote sees her, though, he only sees his beautiful Dulcinaia. When he sees her, he doesn’t see what the world made her to be, he sees who she could be.
The song that sold the show is still popular. “The Impossible Dream” was sung by Don Quixote in the play. I attached a video for it, please listen, it will make your day, week, month. In the song, one of the lines is “This is my quest/ to follow that star/ no matter how hopeless/ no matter how far/ to fight for the right/ without question or pause/ to be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause/”
That song is so moving because it is so real. Don Quixote is crazy. Loopy, nuts, bonkos, but he is living in a way that moves people. This play, this song, was written by Americas. We know that he’s right, we know that the rest of the actors are the ones that are crazy. We know that to fight ‘for the right, without question or pause’ is beautiful, crazy, and perfect.
So let’s live that way. Who cares if the world says we’ve lost it? Who cares if they say we’re just another generation that doesn’t understand? If they think that’s a pitiable dream, they’re the ones that don’t understand! “This is our quest! To follow that star!” Let’s chase it down, let’s be crazy. Let’s be crazy for actually living, and for seeing things as they can be, not what they were made to be. Let’s see Aldonza as Dulcinaia.
Don Quixote is a hero, but he’s not real. He’s fictional. We’re real, and we can be heroes. Not fictional, not made up, but living, breathing heroes. What’s holding us back from that?
The answer: nothing.