The most legendary nose in literature gets a makeover with a lively American adaptation of the 1897 French classic, "Cyrano," at Sierra Repertory's East Sonora theatre Sept. 23 through Oct. 16.
Cyrano de Bergerac is a brash, strong-willed, romantic man of many talents. In addition to being a remarkable duelist, he is a gifted, joyful poet and is also known to be a musician. However, he has an extremely large nose, which is the reason for his own self-doubt. This doubt prevents him from expressing his love for the beautiful and intellectual heiress Roxanne, as he believes that his ugliness denies him the “dream of being loved by even an ugly woman.” Enter Christian de Neuvillette, a handsome new cadet who confesses his love for Roxanne to Cyrano, but also his inability to woo her because of his lack of intellect and wit. When Cyrano offers his letter writing services, the stage is set for romance, comedy and tragedy. Will Roxanne fall for Christian’s dashing looks or Cyrano’s daring poetry? Find out in this timeless tale—full of wordplay and swordplay—that’s been an inspiration to writers and lovers for centuries.
“This play has been on my bucket list since we started Sierra Rep,” said Dennis Jones, SRT’s co-founder, producing director, set designer and director of "Cyrano." “I find the character of Cyrano very appealing and complex. Roxanne, too, has a remarkable journey in the play and is deeper than she might first appear.”
Jones said he has wanted to stage the play for many years, but finances prevented Sierra Rep from producing it. Most translations require a very large cast, and the romance era costumes are expensive and challenging. This new adaptation, which is very theatrical and still captures the romance, has just ten actors, making it more affordable to produce.
“The language is so beautiful; it is poetry to the senses,” Jones said. “Poetry, after all, is a doorway to the human condition, and for Cyrano that human condition is love. Another feature of this adaptation that I find so wonderful is that there is a lot of comedy in the script. This is truly a play for all ages and will still speak to today’s audience. It offers romance, sword-play, comedy and drama.”
Michael Hollinger, who translated the play, stated in an interview that the new translation is conscious of the themes at play: Artifice and truth, external and internal beauty. The title character decries formality of expression in favor direct speech from the – though he’s not above constructing a poem while sword fighting.
SRT newcomer Daniel Harray will portray Cyrano. Harray has performed at Seattle Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company, and The Kennedy Center, to name just a few. He will appear in Season 5 of “Orange Is the New Black,” and in the upcoming feature film, “Hold Me.” He earned a BS in Theatre from Northwestern University and an MFA from the Academy for Classical Acting at George Washington University. Returning to SRT to play the role of Roxanne is Samantha Bruce, whom many will remember as Cinderella, Julie Jordan in "Carousel" and Louise in "Gypsy." Following those roles Samantha moved to New York City where she spent a year performing the role of Luisa in "The Fantasticks," off-Broadway, and just recently performed as Joanna in "Sweeney Todd" at the Denver Center. Costume design is by Alex Jaeger, lighting design by Christopher Van Tuyl, fight choreography by Zoë Swenson-Graham and stage management by Emily Gatesman.
"Cyrano" opens Sept. 23 and runs through Oct. 16 with performances Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Thursdays at either 2 or 7 p.m. A special “talkback” Q&A performance is Thursday, October 6. Tickets range from $32 to $37, with senior, student and child discounts available. The show is rated G for audiences six and up. For tickets and information, visit www.sierrarep.org or call the Box Office at 209-532-3120.