Only Cyrano Knows For Sure

27 10 2007
‘Tis well known, a big nose is indicative
Of a soul affable, and kind, and courteous,
Liberal, brave, just like myself, and such
As you can never dare to dream yourself
Rascal contemptible!  For that witless face
That my hand soon will come to cuff–is all
As empty. . .
–of pride, of aspiration,
Of feeling, poetry–of godlike spark
Of all that appertains to my big nose
                                – Cyrano de Bergerac,
Act I, Scene 1

I apologize for the bad pun, but how could I possibly resist?? I saw Cyrano de Bergerac on Broadway last night starring Kevin Kline, Jennifer Garner, and Daniel Sunjata. With his aristocratic bearing and sense of comedic timing, Kevin Kline fits the character of noble Cyrano like a hand in an isotoner glove. Jennifer Garner plays the perfect ingenue and Daniel Sunjata, her macho but intellectually-challenged beau.

I was enthralled  during the first 3 acts with the Shakespearesque witticisms. The fencing scene in Act I between Cyrano and a viscount is particularly fantastic. During the intermission, my friend Maureen and I were reviewing our past experiences with Cyrano.

Maureen talked about how she was moved by Derek Jacobi’s interpretation of Cyrano on Broadway in 1984. I replied that I had never seen Cyrano on stage, but I remembered the movie with Steve Martin. Of course, Maureen was quick to point out that that movie, Roxanne, was actually a modern interpretation of Cyrano. In fact, Steve Martin’s character was named Charlie Bales and not Cyrano…doh!

But, in my own defense, Kevin Kline and Steve Martin share similarities in their comedic timing and intellectual delivery. Why shouldn’t Kline’s performance bring Martin’s to mind??

After the standing ovation at the play’s conclusion, we agreed that the show was definitely worth the price of the tickets although Maureen said that Derek Jacobi had actually moved her to tears during the final scene in 1984. Kevin Kline did not so move either of us here. Whether that is because Kline is just acting the part versus being the part or whether we’re just older, more cynical, and less gullible, I do not now.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed Cyrano immensely and, if you can, go see it!

In case you’re interested you can watch Jose Ferrer in the 1950 film version of Cyrano for which he won an academy award here. You can download the play as an ebook from Project Gutenberg here. You can get more information about the soon-to-open Broadway production here.

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One response

17 08 2012
Lisa Parson

Tell your friend Maureen that I, too, wept during the final scene of Derek Jacobi’s Cyrano when I saw it in the ’80’s on B’way. It was a strong, visceral reaction and may have come because of a combination of the amazing acting, the play itself, and where I was at the time.

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