|Off The Wall Theatre wound
up its most successful season yet with a comedy of epic proportions. Dale
Gutzman took snippets and incidents from over a dozen versions
of the legends of Don Juan and put them together in an intelligent,
witty, romantic, and sometimes naughty stage presentation, filled with
music, dance, duels, and Deviltry. The name Giovanni
is taken of course from the most famous opera ever written, "Don Giovanni"
by Mozart and Da Ponte. Don Juan's faithful servant Leporello is
our guide through the many misadventures and "conquests" of this sixteenth
century rake, obsessed with sex. Giovanni's little black book (the
original) contains the names of thousands of women (and men) of all ages
whom he has sexually conquered. The play, like the opera, mostly
concerns itself with three women who have been abused by him, and
their attempts to get revenge on Giovanni. In Off The
Wall Theatre's sparkling production, the three women were Donna
Anna: a wealthy betrothed society woman, played by the effervescent
Rice; Zerlina, a sweet innocent village girl and bride to be, played
by the delightful Christina Mata; and Donna Elivira, whom
Don Juan seduces and marries in a convent, played by the multi-talented
Alexandra Bonesho. Along the way, the romantic rake also dabbles with
Masetto, a fresh-faced country boy played by Max Williamson, kills
the Commendatore, played by Paul Pfannenstiel, and insults the integrity
of straight-laced Don Ottavio played by Lawrence
Lukasavage. The long suffering servant was the perfect comedic
role for one of Milwaukee's finest talents, David Flores. Michelle
Waide played the Mother Superior of the convent who harbors secrets
of her own. And Robert Preston, and Mark Ninneman played
brothers who have sworn to kill Don Giovanni for his sins.
Added to the mix, Carole Herbstreit-Kalinyen as a wise old village
woman who has a way with Spanish Songs, Sandy Lewis and Barbara
Weber as nuns, and Barbara Zaferos as a village girl who wants
the Don's attentions, and we had an evening of theater the likes
of which has never seen before. And Giovanni (Don Juan to the Spanish)
was played by Jeremy C. Welter, in the part he was born to play!
Set and lighting was by David
Roper, Nathan Danzer, and Randy White.
Director and playwright Dale Gutzman created a cornucopia of comedy, romance and music, turning the intimate Off The Wall Theatre space into a bullring/bedroom. Each time Don Juan added another name to his 'book," the observing nuns shout, "OLE!" Broken hearts and a few broken heads were scattered everywhere.
Did Giovanni's sins catch up with him? Did honor and morality prevail? And how did our boy Giovanni get to be such a rotten louse in the first place? The play answered these questions with some life-sessions included at no extra charge!