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September 16, 1994 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-09-16

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 16, 1994 - 9

Lavish 'C
By MELISSA ROSE BERNARDO
Forget "Romeo and Juliet." For-;
get "Beauty and the Beast." This sea-
son the Stratford Festival has defined
the greatest love story of all time (and
it's not "Miss Saigon"). Their pro-
duction of "Cyrano de Bergerac" will
stand in greatness for all time, for its
decor, its wit and its panache.+
Edmund Rostand's "Cyrano de;

yrano' plays
riously consider keeping Cyrano
around for next season as well, thus
creating opportunities for other ac-
tors and giving the Festival a chance
to make some money.)
The cast of 34 plays the numerous
roles with great ease; they often ap-
pear to number well over 50. Derek
Goldby deserves much credit for ma-
neuvering everyone about the stage
so smoothly. John Stead has choreo-
graphed perhaps the largest and most
well executed battle scene ever to be
done on the Festival stage.
The production is a spetacle in the
true sense of the word, but in no way
is the visual pomp meant to shadow
the performances. Martha Burns is a
lovely Roxanne, fortunatlely lacking
the conceit that so often makes
Roxanne unappealing to the audience.
But the production belongs, as it
should, to Colm Feore as Cyrano.
We have seen Feore in many great
major roles, including Hamlet, Rich-
ard III and Romeo. However, Cyrano
is the culmination of 13 stellar sea-
sons with the Festival, a grand ending
to an even grander Stratford stint.
Feore endows him with all the
requisite charm, passion, heart, soul
and wit. He wrings from Rostand's
poetry every last bit of emotion, and
his death scene is heartwrenching.
Feore's performance is everything
Cyrano stands for, and he departs
from Stratford with panache.

with panache

Bergerac" is not a great play. It is
highly lyrical, sometimes wordy, and
often plays clumsily. However, a de-
lightful new translation/adaptation by
Anthony Burgess brings out the inner
beauty of Rostand's poetry, giving
this production an extra punch.
The story of Cyrano is a heartful
one. Hercule-Sacinien de Cyrano de
Bergerac (Colm Feore) is the em-
bodiment of the lunatic, the lover and
the poet: he is passionate, spirited and
witty; he has a poem for any occasion
and a willful defiance for everyone.
But his physical appearance dampens
on that resilient spirit: his nose is the
most grotesque nose ever to exist.
He loves a lady, the beautiful
Roxanne (Martha Burns), but she
loves another, the handsome young
Christian (Ben Bass). Christian is
beautiful of face but at a permanent
loss for words, so Cyrano promises to
help Christian woo Roxanne. Writing
letters and romantic speeches, at least
Cyrano can show his love for her,
even if it is through Christian's body.
Roxanne and Christian are mar-
ried secretely, but Christian is imme-
diately sent off to battle. Cyrano goes
as well, keeping an eye on Christian
and writing letters daily to Roxanne.
Christian doesn't make it out of the
battle, and Roxanne retires to a nun-
nery. So 15 years, many letters and
one elaborate battle scene later,
Roxanne discovers the truth. It is too
late for Cyrano and her, but Cyrano
can go to his grave secure in her love.
The beauty of the story is eclipsed
perhaps only by the grandeur of this
production. Tim Goodchild has de-
signed a lavish production from top to
bottom; from the wigs and the hats to
the satins and brocades - not to men-
tion the realistic pastry shop props -
no expense has been spared. One
daren't estimate the dent this produc-
tion must have put in the Festival's
budget. (Richard Monette should se-

CYRAN( DE BERGERAC plays
through November 12 at the
Festival Theatre in Stratford,
Ontario. For tickets, accommoda-
tions, or information about this or
other productions, call the Festival
Box Office at (519) 273-1600.

Cyrano (Colm Feore) pours his heart out in a letter to his beloved Roxanne.

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