March 14, 2004
Cyrano de Bergerac
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Epic Arts Repertory Theatreís production of Cyrano de Bergerac was written by Edmund Rostand, poetically adapted by Anthony Burgess, and dominated by Laura Depta, who remakes the famous writer into her own magnificent heroine.|
Transforming a well-known man into a woman is dangerous, but it works. The show is neither farcical nor foolish, nor does it convey a whit of mockery. Indeed, it is a richly realized period piece of historic fiction. Co-directed by Depta and her husband Stan Peal, Burgessí lyrical and quick-witted language is honored by an ensemble cast that places men and women as the Cadets of Gascony, a brave troop of soldiers led into battle against Spain during the 30 Year War by the pompous Comte de Guiche, played with righteous aplomb by James K. Flynn.
Love, freedom and pride play central roles in the story of unrequited love between de Bergerac, Austin Herring as the "comely and dumb" Christian de Neuvillette, and the intellectual beauty Roxanne, a distant cousin of Bergerac played with exquisite delicacy by Lorraine Larocque.
Andy Boswell gets credit for Deptaís spectacular nose, the source of her strength and her weakness. "A nose may be an index of a great soul," declares Bergerac before she slices and dices her opponent with admirable swordsmanship while simultaneously composing a rhyming poem. What this production does so well is illuminate Bergeracís imperfect character. In Deptaís hand she is proud, impatient, and quick tempered. She is also vulnerable, passionate and brave. She is a universal woman grappling with the enormity of love in the best way she can, and the result is a noble and flawed heroine.
Brian Ruggaberís authentic Renaissance set expands the acting area into three contiguous stages, allowing the cast of 15 to move without claustrophobia. Brown pantaloons, white shirts with flouncy sleeves and the innovative use of fancy napkins as collars and shawls are the inventions of Costume Designer Myk Chambers and Costume Goddess (straight from the program) Christy Chambers.
Other notable performances among the solid cast come from Jina Barragan and Patrick Hurley in multiple roles. "Itís my words she kisses, not his lips," Bergerac reminds himself, because sometimes that has to be enough.
Lynn Trenning, March 14, 2004