DCP’s production of Edmond Rostand’s CYRANO DE BERGERAC, as directed by Jennifer Brozenske, proceeds like poetry on the stage; language dances with light and parleys (and parlays) with romance and danger. There is a delightful buoyancy to Brozenske’s staging of this ageless tale of Hercule Savinien De Cyrano de Bergerac (brought to life by Mark Henry), whose nose gets in the way of love, leads him to swordplay, and who is also a gifted wordsmith. Set in Paris circa 1640, Cyrano is deeply in love with his distant cousin Roxanne (well wrought by Stefania Revelli), who is beautiful, intelligent, and witty. His good friend Le Bret (keen performance by Bruce Crotzer), entreats him to reveal his feelings to Roxanne, to which Cyrano replies, “Look well at me–then tell me, with what hope This vile protuberance can inspire my heart!”. But Cyrano does meet with her. During this meeting his hopes are dashed when his beloved extracts a promise from him to be protector of a very attractive young man she believes she loves. Cyrano goes above and beyond his vow by protecting and preserving the very love itself that his cousin so believes in. By his words, his cunning and his sword in casting himself as the voice of her young man, thereby also casting himself “… in the shadow, at the ladder’s foot, While others lightly mount to Love and Fame!”
This hauntingly touching story is made even more memorable by a wonderful cast, a gorgeous set, and the airiness it is given in performance and staging. The deftness of the acting and timing, both comedic and dramatic, and general lack of heavy-handedness lends a lightness to the language and action that is delightfully refreshing, allowing the audience to relax and immerse. Mark Henry carries the show (and the Nose) through his handsome voice, remarkably nimble delivery and physicality, éclat and dash of pomp, making the audience truly believe in Cyrano. Roxanne is given admirable depth and charm by Stefania Revelli, Bruce Crozer plays a strong, sincere Le Bret and Jason Martin breathes warmth into Christian, making him more than just a pretty, pretty face. Barry Crush cooks up a wonderfully full-bodied Ragueneau; Howard Algeo givesDe Guiche consistency, and La Duenna was given a little spice by Emma Strowger. A strong able ensemble (Caris Baliles, Noah Baliles, Liz Dierolf, Levi Hogan, David Kriebel, Alex Mast, Sam Miller, Maria Serino, Justin Leigh Walters and Neil Young) held the show together, providing the vehicle that kept the play forever in motion with nary a dull moment. All delivered their various roles with distinction, even when ensemble members were essentially ‘backdrop’ or background without lines, they managed to perform stage business quietly, effectively with interest, unobtrusively… so raising the level of credibility for each scene in which any ensemble member appeared.
Supporting the cast are the set (Jennifer Brozenske, Cameron Purdy, Bill and Colleen Algeo), sound and lighting (Bill Thompson) and adorning the actors are splendid period costumes, in beautiful hues and textures (Valerie Witherington). Multi-layered, multi-purpose set pieces, deep tones and fabulous detail effectively set the overall mood of the show, along with sound and music, cogent lighting and wonderful props (Trevor Gibson, Marian Henry, Jan Salotti and Nathan Rutko). All unite to complement the quality and wonderful continuity that shines from the stage.
This highly enjoyable production of CYRANO DE BERGERAC has got panache!
Note of possible interest: There was an actual Cyrano de Bergerac who was also a wordsmith who lived around the same time as the fictional Cyrano, and although he may have provided stimulus, Rostand’s story is an imaginative departure from the real Cyrano’s life.
CYRANO DE BERGERAC
by Edmond Rostand
Translated into English Verse by Brian Hooker
Directed by Jennifer Brozenske
May 31 – June 15, 2013
795 Ridge Road
Telford, PA 18969