In the spirit of continuing my New Years resolution to have more fun Arnold and I went to the UC Davis theater last night to see Man of la Mancha. I felt a little silly going to see what was billed as the "puppet version" but it was totally amazing. Man of la Mancha is a metacuento - a story within a story. In the play Cervantes, while waiting his turn to face the Spanish inquisition entertains his fellow prisoners by telling them the story of Don Quixote of la Mancha, a "knight" who values virtue, justice and truth, believing they will prevail above evil. During the play Cervantes gets his fellow prisoners to act out the different roles of Don Quixote inspiring them to continue to dream for a better world and to uphold all that is good. So how do the puppets fit in? Well, first, they are not regular Muppets puppets, they are human-size puppets which require two to three puppeteers each. One of the puppeteers is also the prisoner who is representing a character in the story within the story, so even as you are watching the Don Quixote story you never remember that behind the fantasy, is the reality of the prisoners, many of them awaiting death from the inquisition. Did I mention that this is also a musical? The result was extremely impressive, I was surprised at the high quality of this student production and wouldn't be surprised if this puppet idea ends up touring. If you are in the Sacramento area I highly suggest going to see it, it will be playing next weekend as well, you can buy tickets at the Mondavi center box office.