Reviews and Recommendations: Cyrano

By: Starla Eckhardt
Cyrano 1
Many English majors may have heard of the play Cyrano de Bergerac, written in 1897 by French playwright Edmond Rostand. Cyrano, a genius poet and amazing swordsman, struggles with his feelings for the beautiful Roxanne. He lets the handsome Christian take credit for his beautiful letters to her because Cyrano fears that Roxanne would reject him due to his large, ugly nose. BYU’s Young Company, a theatre troop that specializes in abridging and performing classic plays for younger audiences, is currently performing their own version of the classic tale.
    As all Young Company productions are performed in under an hour, they cut some sub-plots and modernize some of the language so it is more accessible to those who have not studied these texts. This performance of Cyrano is very successful and effective in the love story as well as the love of language and rhetoric. This is a major theme of the play (one I’m sure any English major can relate to and would love to watch).
Cyrano 2
    The beginning of the play jumps right into the action as Cyrano (John Walker) gives his famous monologue making fun of his own nose. During this opening act, we are introduced to Cyrano’s mastery of word and rhetoric as he wittily praises Roxanne, makes fun of himself, and ridicules others. When he meets Christian (Bryson Stewart), the man that Roxanne has fallen for, a musical montage ensues, showing Cyrano writing many beautiful love letters on the skill level of Alexander Hamilton. As the mood grows darker in the end of Act 3, Cyrano becomes more frantic in his letters and artful use of rhetoric until the emotions and action climax. The last love letter that Cyrano at the end of the play reads makes the heart melt and tears fall.
    Overall, this play truly inspires a passion for writing and skilled rhetoric in one’s heart. I would recommend that all English students buy a ticket and soak in the beautiful poetry. Remaining performances run at 7 PM this next Wednesday through Friday (October 5th-7th) with two final performances on Saturday, October 8th at 2 PM and 4 PM.
    The BYU English Society will also be sponsoring a Dramatic Reading of Cyrano on October 13th in F430 of the HFAC from 6-8 PM. We will be reading through the most relevant scenes of Cyrano de Bergerac and discussing the differences between the performance and the text. A PDF version can be found online if you bring an electronic device. Come and fall in love with language and rhetoric all over again!

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