BWW Review: CYRANO DE BERGERAC at Synetic Theater
It is the season of l'amour and Synetic Theater has brought one of literature's most tragic love stories, Cyrano de Bergerac, to the stage in a new and touching adaption. Whether you are familiar with the original play or one of its many film adaptations, the story of a beautiful woman and the two men who love her is a well-known tale. In true Synetic tradition, that story is given a playful and unique twist. Inspired by the idea that the greatest "clowns" sometimes hide the greatest pain, the creative team, helmed by Vato Tsikurishvili in his directorial debut, has created a wonderful world of pantomime and harlequin.
Tsikurishvili also appears as the titular Cyrano, stepping into the role with only hours notice after the original lead had to bow out. He brings a childlike wonder to the character, letting the audience into the soft heart and exquisite sadness of Cyrano. As in past roles, Tsikurishvili demonstrates a surprisingly eloquent grace and fluidity of movement; his expressive face not at all hindered by the addition of a prosthetic nose.
Maryam Najafzada enchants as the lithe and beautiful Roxanne. She is gently playful in her scenes with Cyrano and adoringly blinded by her affection for the handsome Christian. Even her rebuke of an unwanted suitor, de Guiche, is firm yet endearing. As Roxanne finally realizes the truth of her relationships with Cyrano and Christian, Najafzada is gloriously tragic.
Matt R. Stover brings an exuberant, puppy-like quality to Christian, young and not yet concerned with the complications of love and life. His final sacrifice made even more tragic because it is so needless. Ana Tsikurishvili shines in the role of "Time" - that ever present reminder that we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Philip Fletcher (de Guiche) and Anne Flowers (Priest) round out the cast; their scene-stealing slapstick a welcome release valve for the lovers' tragedy.
Phil Charwood's charming and simple scenic design evokes a circus atmosphere, which works equally well during scenes of battle or of ballet. The lighting design by Brian Allard and Nicki Franklin adds a depth and richness to the set, perfectly setting the stage for each scene.
Alison Samantha Johnson's costumes continue the circus theme; each one an extension of the actor's performance, as well as visual representation of their personality. There are playful touches in each design with accessories that allow the playfulness to extend to the audience during the moments when the cast breaks the fourth wall.
As with every Synetic production, the sound design is a character of its own. Resident Composer, Konstantine Lortkipanidze, does not disappoint. His music brings sweetness, urgency, and sorrow to each scene. You may even notice a few familiar motifs inspired by the story.
Vata Tsikurishvili brings all of these elements, each outstanding in their own right, together and weaves them into an almost operatic whole. While it is always a pleasure to see him perform, one also looks forward to his directorial future.
Synetic Theater's Cyrano de Bergerac is now playing through March 10, 2019. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit synetictheater.org.
Please note that this production is recommended for ages 6 & up and includes audience participation.