"Cyrano De Bergerac" is a classic story of honor, deceit, and unrequited love.
The Fullerton College Theater Arts Department will begin performances of the play Thursday, October 12, and will continue through October 14. The cast of 40 is one of the biggest that has ever graced FC's Bronwyn Dodson Theater.
Written in the late 1800s by Edmund Rostrand, "Cyrano De Bergerac" takes place in the 1840s. Alexandre Dumas "The Three Musketeers" was written in the same time period, and the original French play was an homage to that work.
In the play, Cyrano falls in love with his beautiful and intellectual cousin, Roxanne, but hides his love because of his large nose. Christian, played by Jacob Lane, is a handsome man, but he has trouble wooing the lovely Roxanne (Tamalyn Keene).
Cyrano decides that while he cannot let Roxanne discover his feelings for her, he can give an outlet to those feelings.
Cyrano writes love letters to her, in Christian's name. Roxanne falls in love with the poet who writes her beautiful letters, all the while believing it to be Christian.
Director Chuck Ketter chose a translation of "Cyrano De Bergerac" by Anthony Burgess from the original French. Burgess' translation is one of the most beautiful pieces of literature ever created.
"It accentuates Cyrano's poetic language," Ketter said, "in contrast to the less poetic, structured language of other characters."
Ketter has been with the FC Theater arts Department for 12 years, and has directed well over 20 plays for Fullerton College.
Producing "Cyrano De Bergerac" in any capacity was a dream of Ketter's, who fell in love with the story when he was in high school.
The story is classic, but it's the evocative, provocative language that will touch the heart of the viewer.
The characters in the play encourage an emotional investment; the result is a very moving piece of performance art.
Oscar Martinez, Jr. plays Cyrano, a man cursed with a deformed nose, and blessed with the gift of poetry.
The actor's enthusiasm is easy to see on stage, even under that extended nose. Martinez makes the character more than believable; Cyrano is a protagonist with which anyone could empathize.
"It's a great role," Martinez said. "The character of Cyrano embodies so many virtues."
Martinez's passion can also be found in every aspect of the production. The costumes, which come straight from Broadway, are breathtaking. Bright blooded, shimmering gold, and melancholy blue highlight the gawdy feathers, ruffles and stylish clothes which all seem to leap out from the past. "Cyrano De Bergerac" is written in the style of a Greek tragedy Humor, death, and irony are all important factors of Rostrand's famous work.
The sword fighting scenes are very ambitious, and sometimes feature almost half the cast on stage at one time.
There are two major fight scenes, and one large battle that required special help. Professional fight choreographer Anthony Carreiro was enlisted to help with the fight direction. He is certified by the Society of American Fight Directors, which has a long history with the motion picture industry, and the theater.
Carreiro had FC's students sword fighting convincingly within five weeks a relatively short time for inexperienced actors.
"There seems to be two types of actors," Carreiro said. "Sometimes you have actors who have been highly trained, but they won't put the energy in. Here, we have a bunch of students... that have put so much energy, and so much effort into it, that it was really a joy to work on."
The effort and enthusiasm show, as the fight scenes are fun to watch, and very believable.
Actors like John Montano, Aaron Aragonez, and Jacob Lane all bring a vitality to the work. The FC Cosmetology Department is helping with all of the wig and hair designs, and they are perfect for the era.
This production of "Cyrano De Bergerac" is truly a treat for the FC students involved, and anyone who will watch it.