PCPA Theaterfest Stages CYRANO DE BERGERAC, Now thru 9/1
Cyrano de Bergerac is a master of all trades, maddeningly uncompromising and brilliantly accomplished - poet, warrior, and romantic. Still, there's triangular trouble in his love for Roxane - his adversary DeGuiche, his friend Christian, and his own spectacular nose. When you've uncovered the courageous heart behind the nose, you'll fall in love under the stars in the Solvang Festival Theater August 17 through September 1. Revel in a rhapsody of words as pointed as rapiers in Rostand's poignant portrait of panache that goes beyond romantic pageantry.
Cyrano de Bergerac, a classic by Edmond Rostand was written in 1897, has been freshly translated by Ranjit Bolt, considered to be Britain's leading translator. Set in Paris in 1640, Cyrano is in love with Roxane, but his extremely large nose paralyzes him from telling her his feelings. At one point, he is on the verge of disclosing his emotions when she reveals it is Christian she loves. Christian however, lacks the panache which Cyrano inhabits, and Cyrano offers to write eloquent love letters to Roxane on Christian's behalf. Along the way, there are sword fights and duels, and, raising the stakes in this classic romantic comedy, is the villainous De Guiche, who tries - at all costs - to separate the lovers to win Roxane's affections.
The cast includes Derrick Lee Weeden* playing Cyrano, the man of many accomplishments. Mr. Weeden has been a regular at Oregon Shakespeare Festival for 20 seasons where he has played The Count de Guiche in Cyrano on the Ashland stage. The woman who has captured Cyrano's heart - but who believes herself to be in love with another - is the very rich and beautiful Roxane played byCara Ricketts*. A favorite on the Stratford, Ontario stage, Ms. Ricketts has played Innogen inCymbeline, Ermengarde in The Matchmaker, Ruth in The Homecoming and Maria in Twelfth Night. Vengeful and manipulative, Comte de Guiche is used to getting what he wants. He is played byGregory Linington*. Mr. Linington has left his mark in Ashland, in LA, and in New York, among others, and PCPA. He graduated from the conservatory, class of 1993, and appeared in Cyrano the last time PCPA produced it (he played the role of Christian). His credits for Oregon Shakespeare Festival include Berowne in Love's Labour's Lost, Cassius in Julius Caesar, Gratiano in The Merchant of Venice. The handsome Christian who must rely on Cyrano to express his feelings of love for Roxane will be played by Tobias Shaw. Past appearances at PCPA include Valentine in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Oliver in As You Like It, Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing. Also cast, PCPA Resident Artists Peter S. Hadres* as Le Bret, Erik Stein* as Ragueneau, and Elizabeth Stuart* as Lise and Sister Marguerite. In addition, George Walker plays Valvert and The Musician,Billy Breed is Montfleury and Friar, and Paul Henry is Lignier.
Director Roger DeLaurier said Cyrano requires just the right actor for this play to work. "For this production I am so pleased to have Derrick Lee Weeden in the title role. The character of Cyrano, the duelist, philosopher, poet and unlikely lover, calls upon the actor portraying him to experience an operatic range in the playing; it takes an actor of panache to play a character of panache. The words themselves must convey all the poetry, love and madness of Edmond Rostand's original. I think you will find Mr. Weeden is up to the task."
The creative team also includes Fight Choreographer Mark Booher, Scenic Designer Dave Nofsinger, Costume Designer Frederick P. Deeben, Lighting Designer Tamar Geist, Sound Designer Alberto Yong, and Stage Manager Heather Patterson.
Edmond Rostand wrote Cyrano de Bergerac especially for the popular French actor Benoit-Constant Coquelin at the actor's request. Coquelin would go on to play the role over 400 times. The play was first performed in Paris in 1897 when Rostand reportedly apologized to Coquelin prior to the opening for involving him in a disastrous adventure. Apparently not so disastrous, the curtain call applause from that first audience lasted for an hour. It was an instant success and was quickly translated into English, German, and Russian, among others. It is a poetic five-act romantic drama in verse set during the reign of Louis XIII. Theatre goers of his day favored the realism of Ibsen and Zola but it was Rostand who revived the romantic tradition of epic poetry, historical context, and large scale staging.