On Monday, the Garrick Theatre hosted a gripping and comedic performance of the play Don Quixote, which was attended by 15 eager A Level Spanish students. Considered the earliest canonical novel, Don Quixote is one of the most important pieces of literature of all time. It was published in two parts in 1605 and 1615 by Miguel de Cervantes, a highly influential Spanish writer on par with Shakespeare. They are even believed to have died on the same day!

Don Quixote follows the tale of an Alfonso Quixano, an old Spanish madman who, after excessively reading books about chivalry and knights, believes he is a knight called Don Quixote. Accompanied by his squire, Sancho, he travels around on pointless quests, mistaking windmills for giants and sheep for soldiers. The play is also centred around his imaginary lover, Lady Dulcinea, to whom he is completely devoted. All in all, it is a comedy of errors which was greatly entertaining to watch and culminated in Quixote’s defeat to a real knight, who commands him to return home and lay down his arms for a year - which he does, before dying of old age.

The purpose of the visit was to gain a strong insight into an integral part of Spanish culture. Spanish people reference the novel in everyday speech constantly, and many common idioms (such as the proof is in the pudding) are derived from this novel. The adjective ‘quixotic’ also comes from this play, a fitting description for the protagonist! The high quality of acting made the play easy to understand and follow, which was an achievement, given the task of also maintaining the 17th century language and themes. It was an enriching experience that we all enjoyed very much and I would like to thank Ms Ashton for arranging the visit. The play is still on at the Garrick theatre for the next few months - I would definitely recommend seeing it while you still can.