With his unique staging of Man of La Mancha, director Nick Bowling appears to be on a quest of his own—whether that quest ends honorably or deteriorates into a fool’s errand is up to the individual theatergoer.
Be aware that my reactions were distinctly out of sync with many in the audience, a majority of whom rushed to their feet during the standing ovation. Other theatergoers on the way out gushed about this new interpretation of a beloved classic. Bowling appears to have created a crowd pleaser.
Elie Wiesel was a keynote speaker at the Chicago Humanities Festival in 2012 having been awarded the Chicago Tribune Literary Prize. His emergence onto the stage at the Symphony Center was met with a standing ovation the likes of which I have never experienced before or will ever experience again. It was the type of ovation that builds upon itself—sparked by awe and excitement and appreciation for one of the great voices for peace and justice. The applause was a wave, starting high, waning briefly, and then rising again and again driven by emotion. I can’t remember how anyone in the Symphony Center convinced us to stop applauding and sit down so the interview could begin.