Monday, November 12, 2018

Review of Remy Bumppo Theatre Company's Frankenstein

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Frankenstein. It was by Nick Dear, based on the novel by Mary Shelley. It was directed by Ian Frank. It was about a young ambitious scientist named Victor Frankenstein (Nick Sandys) who creates this reconstructed human, referred to as the Creature (Greg Matthew Anderson). Victor comes back to his house and discovers that the Creature has learned how to walk, so Victor flees to Geneva. The Creature then learns about the ways that humans live and sets out to find where he came from. It is about the humanity of monsters and the monstrosity of humans. I think this is a visually stunning and beautifully acted show. It really makes you think about humanity and its combination of brutality and intelligence.

I feel like the set (by Joe Schermoly), movement (by Kristina Fluty), sound (by Christopher Kriz), and lights (by Mike Durst) in the show immerse you more fully in the story. The set worked for many different locations and scenes because it was just white walls that were movable and grey poles that would swing from side to side when pushed. There was also a background piece that opened slowly throughout the show. At first it seemed like just a white wall, but as the play progressed the wall would crack open and you could see light behind it. It made me think of the Creature's horizons, his view of the world expanding. It was like mountains that were beautiful and jagged and it reminded me of the two ways that he thinks of the world, as wonderful and dangerous. The movement from the very beginning shows the Creature being born. It is a very visceral way to start the show, with his screams of agony and confusion as he contorts and strains his body in a desperate attempt to gain control over himself. There was very loud and oppressive opera playing through the first few scenes; it really intrigued me and the music made the audience feel almost like the Creature did because of how confusing-in-the-moment and overwhelming the surroundings were.

Anderson and Sandys switch roles throughout the run. This is a very interesting choice. It made me want to see the show again because I thought about how different it would be with different actors playing the parts of Frankenstein and the Creature. It shows how similar these two creatures really are. Even though they are pitted against each other, they are both capable of feeling love and feeling heartbreak and committing irrational and cruel acts. And because Elizabeth and the female creature are both played by the same actor (Elizabeth Stoughton) it really shows how similar Frankenstein's and the Creature's crimes are against these women. Even though the Creature is made out by Frankenstein to be irrational and savage, Frankenstein himself commits the same act as the monster does and he commits the crime first.

The play is interested in the layers of discrimination in society. Frankenstein seems to push people away no matter their intelligence or good intentions as if no one who is not him could have any contribution to his life or his work. He rejects the Creature's offers to help reconstruct a woman creature. And Elizabeth wants to help him with his work, but he rejects her because she is a woman and he believes that women could not possibly know anything that he doesn't. I think that Mary Shelley and the playwright could be equating the experience of being an intelligent woman to being seen as a monster.

People who would like this show are people who like visual metaphors, similar creatures, and intelligent monsters. I think that people should definitely go see this show. It is a unique and amazing experience with great actors and an immersive atmosphere. I really liked it.

Photos: Joe Mazza/Brave Lux

Friday, November 2, 2018

Review of St. Sebastian Players' The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The book, music, and lyrics were by Rupert Holmes, inspired by the Dickens novel. It was directed by Robert-Eric West. It was about a group of actors in the Victorian era putting on an adaptation of Charles Dickens' unfinished book, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The play they are putting on is about a young man named Edwin Drood (Sarah Myers) whose uncle John Jasper (Sean Michael Barrett) is in love with Edwin's fiancee Rosa Bud (Shayla Rogers). The uncle is also addicted to opium, provided by Princess Puffer (Lauren Miller), so he cannot remember his actions. There are also some new people in town who have come from Ceylon, Neville Landless (Peter Kattner III) and his sister Helena (Anna Gallucci), and Neville follows the trend and falls in love with Rosa. The entire production is overseen by Mr. William Cartwright (Darryl Maximilian Robinson), the chairman of the music hall. When Edwin Drood goes missing, everyone is a suspect. But the musical doesn't have an ending, so the audience has to decide. I thought this was a fun show. It had some good performances and an interesting concept.

I really loved the character of Mr. Phillip Bax (Adam Hoak) who played Bazzard in the play within a play. He had a song called "Never the Luck" which was an original song by Bax about how unlucky he was when it came to getting roles at the Music Hall Royale. He was always the understudy, never the star. He was absolutely adorable. He was very genuine and kind of scared, and he ended up having a lovely voice even though he was very nervous and scared in the performance up until that point. Bazzard seemed to be the fan favorite throughout the show. So when it was asked who should play Dick Datchery, the detective investigating the disappearance, the crowd immediately decided that it should be Bazzard.

Something that distressed me was the use of brownface for two Indian characters, the Landless siblings. I realize this is a convention of the production. They are supposed to be white British actors playing these roles with terrible accents. I think it is a convention that could be abandoned. I would much rather have seen people of Indian descent playing these roles. The roles of Helena and Neville are very stereotyped, but the roles of the music hall actors playing those roles don't have to be. It would have been interesting to see non-stereotyped characters of Indian descent playing roles of stereotyped Indians. I think this layering could have landed a message about the challenges actors of color can face in playing their own race in scripts written by white people.

I really liked how they let you choose who the murderer was. It was very interesting to see what everyone else in the audience was thinking and how it was all put together at the last moment. I wonder what it must have been like for the actors to be so on edge and not have any idea who would play the detective, the murderer, or sing the final love song any given night. I would love to see all the different versions. The night that I was at the show, the detective was Bazzard and the murderer was Helena. The love song was sung by Princess Puffer and Durdles (Eric S. Prahl), who is a hilarious drunk gravedigger. Honestly, they seem pretty perfect for each other because they are both messed up enough for the other.

People who would like this show are people who like pageantry, melodrama, and adorable understudies. I think this show has some talented actors and I really liked the audience participation.

Photos: Eryn Walanka

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Review of The New Colony's Fun Harmless Warmachine

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Fun Harmless Warmachine. It was by Fin Coe and directed by James Fleming. It was about a man named Tom (Daniel Chenard) who was working at a boring insurance agency and was very deep into the online gaming community. He asks out a woman from his office named Melissa (Emily Marso) but she turns him down. Then he gets asked by Niko (Victor Musoni) to be a part of a online gaming clan called the Order of the Sword, lead by Hunter (Robert Koon). The clan promises to help him punish Melissa for disrespecting him. He quits his job after the clan gets him work with an online gaming company, Octopunk, and his life seems to be getting better until he tries to leave the Order when he wakes up to the fact that they post anti-feminist tweets and ruin people's lives by leaking private information via his accounts. It is about sexism, male power, and what makes an act unforgivable.

Tom has a very different personality when he is online than when he is off. He is like the Jekyll and Hyde of gamers. He actually seems like a genuinely good person when he is not playing video games. In his actual relationships with people, like DC (Londen Shannon) and Ekaterina (Ayanna Bria Bakari) and his little brother Jack (Musoni), he clearly cares a lot about them. But when he plays video games he feels like that is the most important thing in his life and nothing should get in the way of that. It makes him feel more competent and confident about himself, but he is less likable because of how cocky and selfish he is. He doesn't think of people as real people when everything around them is virtual, even though there may be a real person behind them. It enables him to treat people badly without any thought or restraint. Half of the time you are like, this guy is great he deserves a good life and half the time you are like, this guy is a terrible person and doesn't deserve the things that he has. Even though he is our protagonist, he is not a hero. Part of me really hoped that he would get redeemed, but I think it was better for him to actually get cut out of people's lives and not be immediately (or maybe ever) forgiven. I think it was good that they don't give the audience the immediate gratification of him being forgiven.

The last scene of the play was very moving and I thought it had an interesting message. But since it is the last scene of the play, it had some spoilers in it, so you can read it here if you don't care about spoilers or have already seen the play.

I really like the movement (choreographed by the director and cast) in this show. I love how people would face each other when they were talking to each other most of the time even when characters were talking online or on the phone. I feel like sometimes in shows they lose the intimacy in the scene because they are online, but because of the movement in this show they did not lose the relationships. The movement was also used to simulate things in the video game. They would crouch on chairs and say classic gamer lines and shoot at each other in what seemed like real life. It was a lot more visceral to see them yelling childish things with a body in front of them. Much more than just watching people play video games and yell at a screen. Notifications would also come in during the game and the actor playing the character sending the text would stand in front of Tom and he would swipe them out of the way, which was sad to see how he could swipe away real people like they were notifications and how much the game had taken over his perception of the world.

People who would like this show are people who like coffee shop confrontations, visceral movement, and Jekyll and Hyde gamers. I think that people should go see this show. It is a fascinating concept. It is really well written, directed, performed, and choreographed. It made me think more about how people online are actual people, even if they are not the people they are pretending to be.

Photos: Emily Schwartz

Review of Steppenwolf for Young Adults' The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. It was by Simon Stephens based on the novel by Mark Haddon. It was directed by Jonathan Berry. It was about a boy named Christopher (Terry Bell) who is in his early teens in a town called Swindon. One day he discovers that his neighbor Mrs. Shears' (Eunice Woods) dog Wellington has been killed. He decides he must investigate who has killed Wellington and along the way discovers his family secrets and how strong he is and how he is capable of so much more than he was told he was. It is about family, consequences, and perspective. I think this was a really beautiful show. I really loved the story and character work.

Christopher's discovery of his mother's letters was absolutely heartbreaking and beautifully staged. He built a wall around himself with the trains and blocks and just curled up on the floor. I think everyone has felt like that and has wanted to do what Christopher did but most of us are afraid that we can't act that way. How calmly he executed it and how emotionless he seemed after his whole idea of his mother had been blown apart was heartbreaking and really well done. The mother (Rebecca Spence) was a very complex character. She seemed to love Christopher so much, but her decisions made it seem like she didn't. Most of the people in this show don't make completely rational decisions, and that makes these characters interesting and easy to relate to. Christopher's father (Cedric Mays) also makes very irrational decisions about Christopher's mother. He lies to Christopher to lessen the blow, but it ends up hurting him more than if he'd just been told the truth. Even Mrs. Alexander (Meg Thalken), who seems very reasonable and to know her way around a conversation, sometimes will mess up and say something she shouldn't have said.

I really loved the storytelling choices in this show. The way the story flows together and the movement choices (by Dan Plehal) were lovely. One of my favorite moments of movement combined with text was when Christopher was in the train station reading all the signs and the ensembles voices were all overlapping. The movement is getting faster and they are walking around him, and Christopher is getting more and more uncomfortable until Siobhan (Caroline Neff), Christopher's mentor at school, stops it all and tells him that all he has to do is think about each step as he walks. It is a very touching and sweet moment between Siobhan and Christopher as well as a visually stunning moment. I also thought it was very compelling how Christopher's story that he made out of the murder of Wellington became a play that we were watching. It would go between the story and the rehearsal process for the play, but at first it isn't clear that that is what is happening. The reveal that it is a play within a play drew me in because it showed the process of making the play and of working with Christopher and also how different people in his life are playing roles in the play. He has very strong opinions about who can play whom. Like when Reverend Peters (Christopher M. Walsh) wants to play the policeman, and Christopher says, "You're too old to play a policeman." That was one of my favorite lines from the rehearsal scenes because of how perfectly it shows how unfiltered Christopher is as a director.

I really love the idea of math in this show and how it is worked into Christopher's thinking process. It also contributes to one of my favorite comedic moments in the show. Because this whole show is from Christopher's perspective narrated to us by Siobhan, it is how he sees things instead of how people see him. I really like how when he is riding past things on the train he doesn't look at them and say, "there are some cows, there are some houses, there are some horses." He has to figure out the exact number of them and he can figure that out in a split second. I find it fascinating to think about his thought process compared to mine and notice the similarities and differences. He thinks about how everything is connected, which is how I think about things, but I don't think of groups of things in numbers. I think of the features of the things. In the middle of the show Christopher wants to explain how he solved a math problem, but Siobhan tells him that whoever wants to stay after the play and hear the solution can, but that most people will find it boring. But when he came out and explained it at the end, he was so elated to be explaining math to us--and he made it such a spectacle by using lights, sound, projections and even confetti cannons--that it made me want the show never to end so I could spend more time with Christopher and learn more math (which I never thought I would say).

People who would like this show are people who like multi-textured mysteries, complex characters, and celebratory equation confetti. I loved this show very much. I think it is absolutely beautiful and funny and overall an awesome experience.

Photos: Michael Brosilow

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Review of Caroline, or Change from Firebrand Theatre in partnership with TimeLine Theatre Company

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Caroline, or Change. The book and lyrics were by Tony Kushner and the music was by Jeanine Tesori. It was directed by Lili-Anne Brown and the music direction was by Andra Velis Simon. It is about Caroline (Rashada Dawan) who is a maid for a Jewish family in the 60s in Louisiana. She is a single mother to three kids, Emmie (Bre Jacobs), Jackie (Princess Isis Z. Lang), and Joe (Lyric K. Sims). She is not proud of her work, but she passes the time doing laundry by listening to the radio and the singers on the radio are personified and become her chorus (Roberta Burke, De'Jah Jervai, and Emma Sipora Tyler). So do the Washer (Tyler Symone) and the Dryer (Micheal Lovette). Noah (Alejandro Medina) is the son of her employers, Rose and Stuart Gellman (Blair Robertson and Jonathan Schwart) and is obsessed with Caroline and thinks that she seems more powerful than his father. She doesn't feel powerful herself. She is scared of her daughter getting hurt in the fight for civil rights and she thinks her friend Dotty (Nicole Michelle Haskins) is being selfish and living her life too boldly. Caroline gets an extra pay boost when she is allowed to take the money that Noah leaves in his pockets, but she is conflicted about taking money from a kid. She is conflicted about change in two senses. This musical is about stepping out of your comfort zone, identity, and family. I thought that this was a really really good show. There were excellent performances and I thought it had an especially intriguing premise.

One of my favorite songs was "The Bus." The Bus (Lovette) had such great control over his voice and I loved listening to him as both the Dryer and the Bus. His entrance was so abrupt; you just hear this very low note come from offstage. It almost sounded like he was crying throughout the song, which is appropriate because he has just found out JFK has died. That is also why the abruptness is appropriate. I also really liked "Laundry Finish." I loved the washer and the dryer and I thought it was interesting how they were personified. I loved how Caroline interacted with them. She seemed kind of frustrated with them in a way but she was also thankful for them. I thought the high notes were really well sung and I liked the humor of the song, like when the Washer seemed so proud of her work and the Dryer used innuendo with Caroline. I also enjoyed "Roosevelt Petrucius Coleslaw." It was like a nursery rhyme that Caroline's kids and Noah sang about a very ugly boy and how sad his mother was when he died. It had some darker undertones to it, like most nursery rhymes, but it showed the sisters' relationship with each other very well. And Noah wants to be a part of their family, so in his head he is playing games with them and singing. It shows you how lost he feels and how he thinks he would be accepted and happy if he lived with Caroline.

I think Caroline was a very interesting character and Dawan did an amazing job with the role. You could see the love she had for the people around her, but also how she wasn't always great at showing it. She would try her best to make enough money to give her kids what they wanted and needed, but she was also kind of harsh with them even when they were just trying to help. She also had a very strong connection with Noah but got very easily angry at him because she didn't want Noah or herself to get in trouble. Noah sees her as "the president" and thinks very highly of her because she is so stoic but determined and caring--which is a classic image of a ruler. Rose's opinion of Caroline is very complex. It is hard to tell whether she comes up with the plan of Caroline keeping Noah's change because she wants to teach Noah a lesson or to break up the relationship between Caroline and Noah so she herself can be the more prominent motherly figure in his life. It also might be a bit of guilt because she doesn't pay her enough. Caroline doesn't seem to like Rose very much, and I think that is because she, like Noah, misses his mother. It would be interesting to see Caroline with Noah's mother and how her relationship differed with her and Rose.

I think the Chanukah party scene was very nicely written and performed. It did not play out the way I expected it to. I thought it was interesting that this is the first time we see Emmie and Dotty serving other people. I thought that Emmie would behave like a servant and that would be hard to watch because Emmie is such a forward thinking person who speaks her mind. But she speaks up and gets into a conversation about civil rights with Rose's dad, Mr. Stopnick (Michael Kingston). He doesn't get mad at her; he starts a conversation with her. But Caroline drags Emmie away because she is worried about what will happen to her. It is really hard to watch Caroline be so worried for Emmie and Emmie to be so mad at her at the same time. A lot of times Caroline would have been right to tear Emmie away because the situation could have been dangerous. But it wasn't in this case because the person she was talking to wasn't going to hurt her because she had a different opinion than him. It really shows the effects of racism on people and how hard it is to assess whether people are willing to engage in conflict without violence.

People who would like this show are people who like dark nursery rhymes, President Caroline, and thoughtful consideration of conflicts still happening today. I think this is a really really great show. All the performers were great. I really like the musical and what it has to say about change, society, and family. I think that people should definitely go see this beautiful show. I loved it.

Photos: Marisa KM

Friday, October 19, 2018

Review of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Broadway in Chicago)

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The book was by David Greig, based on the novel by Roald Dahl. The music was by Marc Shaiman, and the lyrics were by Scott Wittman and Shaiman. Some songs, by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, were originally from the 1971 movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. It was directed by Jack O'Brien. The choreography was by Joshua Bergasse and the music supervision was by Nicholas Skilbeck. It was about a young boy named Charlie (Henry Boshart) who wanted to become a chocolatier and was obsessed with the candy made in his town by Willy Wonka (Noah Weisberg). When Willy Wonka starts a contest to find golden tickets in Wonka chocolate bars, Charlie asks if he can buy them, but his family is too poor to buy more than one a year. Still he lucks out and finds the last golden ticket. But the other winners are not as promising as Charlie. Veruca Salt (Jessica Cohen), is a Russian ballerina and very bratty. Mike Teevee (Michael Quadrino) is very mean to his mother (Madeleine Doherty) and sits around playing video games all day. Augustus Gloop (Matt Wood) overeats and doesn't listen to directions. And Violet Beauregard (Brynn Williams) comes from a privileged and famous family and is a bubblegum pop star. They all go on a tour of the factory together and not everyone comes back out again. It is about consequences, entitlement, and creativity. I think this is a really interesting take on a classic story and the young actor playing Charlie did an especially great job.

I was a little bit disappointed that Charlie was the only kid actor in the show. I did not know why for the first half, but then I realized in act two that it was because their deaths were not implied and were gruesome and blatant. I think the reason why they cast adults is because they were afraid people would be scared or offended by watching real kids get ripped apart or exploded. Another thing that confused me were the logistics of the scene leading up to the dream ballet between Charlie's dead father and Charlie's mother (Amanda Rose). Charlie is woken up on his birthday and is given a chocolate bar and is immediately sung back to sleep by his mother seconds later. It takes me out of the story when things don't make sense. I'm fine with magic and mystery, but I want the timeline to make sense.

I really liked the songs "When Veruca Says" and "Queen of Pop." They were very catchy and embodied the characters of Veruca and Violet very well. They were both sung and danced by very talented singers and dancers and I love how they incorporated the fathers (Nathaniel Hackmann and David Samuel). It was funny to see how much these fathers feared their daughters. I loved the choreography in both of them. I'm not so sure I liked the idea of Veruca being so good at a physically taxing form of dance, because that shows that that character is very determined and passionate about the art she makes, which makes her seem less awful. The end that she meets is very savage, so you need her to be pretty awful so it doesn't seem like overkill.

"It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" and "The View from Here" were my two favorite songs because together they showed the development of the relationship between Wonka and Charlie. I especially like the last song because you see how far they have come and how many similarities they have. "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" is very alluring and introduces you to Wonka as Wonka not Wonka incognito. You get to see how much love he has for his craft, but how secretive he is about it. "The View from Here" shows the more sentimental and loving side of Wonka which he basically has hidden until this scene. I really liked how Charlie and Wonka built off of each other's energy in this scene. I thought they did a good job making the preceding chaos mean something. I was actually pretty moved by it.

People who would like this show are people who like reimagined classic stories, chocolate mentorships, and gruesome deaths. I think this is an interesting show. It shows a side of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory I hadn't thought of before. I think it has some great performers and some good songs.

Photos: Joan Marcus

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Review of Tootsie (Broadway in Chicago)

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Tootsie. The book was by Robert Horn and the music and lyrics were by David Yazbek. It was based on the story by Don McGuire and Larry Gelbert and the Columbia Pictures film. It was directed by Scott Ellis. The choreography was by Denis Jones and the music director and conductor was Andrea Grody. It was about a struggling actor named Michael Dorsey (Santino Fontana) who had been out of work for a really long time and had alienated many directors because of his strong opinions. His friend Sandy (Sarah Stiles) was auditioning for a new Broadway musical called Juliet's Curse and they were looking for a new actor to play the nurse. So Michael Dorsey decides to become his new alter-ego Dorothy Michaels and audition. He gets cast and meets Julie Nichols (Lilli Cooper) who plays Juliet and they instantly have a very strong connection, but he can't reveal his male identity or else he thinks he'll get fired. It is about identity, connection, and manipulation. I thought this show was a lot of fun and I think it has some good updates to the story.

I thought this show had a lot of really good updates, especially to the character of Julie. In the movie, Julie seems a lot more helpless, but in the musical she seems more powerful, speaks up for herself, and doesn't let societal norms pressure her into doing something she doesn't want to do. I really liked the idea in the show that a relationship between Julie and Dorothy could be possible even if they were both women. They come a lot closer to exploring gender identity than in the movie, but it is still a story of a straight man dressing in drag and manipulating a woman. But in this case the woman is more angry and less devastated and the show and Michael both recognize that she deserves her anger. Michael does still love her, so he needs to tell her why he did things and how he feels. But he doesn't expect her to just quickly get over everything. I don't know exactly why they switched the project Michael does as Dorothy from a soap opera to a musical, except that it was more convenient for people bursting into song constantly. I enjoyed the update to the lead actor character Max Van Horn (John Behlmann) because I loved his performance and thought he was hilarious. But Juliet's Curse was not always engaging. It was funny when the story was ridiculous, but it was hard to get invested in because it wasn't an episodic that was always transforming.

I love Michael's roommate Jeff (Andy Grotelueschen) and Sandy in this show. They were so hilarious and I loved all their songs. Sandy had this song, "What's Gonna Happen," that she keeps reprising that I think sums up her character perfectly, which is an adorable nervous wreck. It is a song where she hears one proposal of an idea and starts listing all of the terrible events that will follow if she does this. As it starts to escalate, the song gets faster and she gets more panicked. Eventually someone cuts her off and calms her down. She handles the speed very well; miraculously, you can still understand everything she's saying. "Jeff Sums It Up" was basically a song about exactly all the crazy ridiculous stupid things Michael has done. I liked how unabashed Jeff was about calling Michael out on all of his crap. I didn't think I could like someone in this role better than Bill Murray, but I think I did! They spent more time in the musical on his and Michael's relationship, and I think that was a really good decision because I loved their relationship and wanted even more of it. And Jeff was absolutely hilarious.

Dorothy had a song called "I Won't Let You Down," which was her audition song. It was really crazy hearing Santino Fontana singing in that higher register and doing it flawlessly so it didn't sound like mock femininity, which I was a bit worried about. I think it is hard to avoid that when your voice is not naturally that high, but he did a great job at making it sound natural and not forced. That was true of the speaking as well. I loved how he alternated between the higher and lower tones and you could hear glimpses of Michael's voice in the audition. He didn't have a single crack throughout the show even though he shifts back and forth between these voices a lot. I thought his performance of Dorothy was really well-acted and -sung. I really like Dorothy as a character. She is sweet, she's a badass, and she has very strong opinions. Michael is very opinionated as well, but he doesn't have the sweetness at first. He grows empathy throughout the show. It is weird that we still think of empathy as a female characteristic, and I am looking forward to a day when the world doesn't assign emotions to genders. But I do think that it is great that there is a case in a musical and a movie of a man learning about empathy and why it is important and that not making him weak. I don't want to give anything away about the last scene, but it almost made me cry. It was really well-acted and I loved the connection between Michael/Dorothy and Julie.

People who would like this show are people who like flawless falsetto, compelling updates, and hilarious supporting characters. I think people should go see this show before it closes here or later on Broadway. I'm excited to see how this musical will evolve when it moves to New York.

Photo: Julieta Cervantes