Arden Theater’s ‘Cyrano’

By Amanda Toth
March 28, 2012

Eric Hissom (Cyrano) along with other cast members in the Arden Theatre Company production.

Cyrano, a story of love, lies, poetry and war, opened at the Arden Theater Company in Old City, Philadelphia on March 8.

The theater was packed with the audience anticipating the start of the play.

The producing artistic director first took the stage to give some information about the show and its production, as well as future productions that will be coming out soon at the Arden Theater.  He also introduced some of the key people that were involved in the production. After all of the important people were introduced and the announcements were made the lights were dimmed and the show began.

Cyrano takes place in Paris and Arras between the years 1640-1655.  The play started out with a single actor taking the stage introducing the plot in a quick, old English, poem-type dialect.  Soon, the other characters came out and added to the poem. Each character announced their roles within the poem that described the plot of the play.  Each actor played more then one character except for the actor that played the lead, Cyrano, and the actor that played the character Le Bret.

After the characters were introduced, the play was underway with the romance starting, poems and words flowing, sword fighting and enemies revealed.  Right away in the first scene, there was a sword fight and a quick-witted poem recited by the main character Cyrano. From then on it was obvious to see that Cyrano would provide the story with poetry and keep it moving along.  The second scene set up the romance part of the entire story, which ended up being the main plot.  There was a love box around the only woman in the show, Roxane, it seemed that all of the men admired her; however, only three were revealed.   Roxane had her eyes on the most handsome of all the men, a man by the name of Le Bret.  Le Bret had the best looks of all the men, but he did not have a way with words at all and that is what Roxane admired and wanted most of all.

The main hero Cyrano, who happens to be Roxane’s second cousin, also admired her. Cyrano has a wonderful way with words and can express every feeling with incredible description and flowing sentences but is the most unattractive man around.  He was unfortunately graced with an abnormally large nose.  Cyrano and Le Bret decide that they will work together so that Le Bret can win the affection of Roxane by looks and intellect, intellect being Cyrano’s letters to Roxane that she thinks are actually from Le Bret.  From then on the trouble starts.

The show was enjoyable and interesting to watch. The audience seemed captivated by the language and action that graced not only the stage but also the entire theater.  Characters used the whole theater; at times they were in the audience or addressing the audience which made it seem as if everyone in the theater was a part of the play.

All of the actors knew their lines and stayed in character the entire time making the show even more believable. The set was beautiful; in the background there was a whole wall of mirrors that changed for the different scenes with what looked like projection pictures to make it look like different buildings.

The show provided laughter, excitement and sadness throughout its entirety.  There were many twists and turns that kept the audience interested and the storyline was appealing to the audience.  As a whole the show was very good, however the last scene seemed a little emotionally forced.  This show is highly recommended.


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Amanda Toth

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