Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Can't Judge a Book

A few weeks ago I had my annual fix of live, outdoor theatre when I caught Shakespeare in the Park’s rendition of Cyrano de Bergerac. Though technically not a penned by the Bard, it’s from the hand of Edmond Rostand, this comedy/drama came replete with colorful costumes and excellent acting and made for one lively, fun-filled evening. Once again, the locale of this literate outdoor troupe has changed and is now staged at the Myriad Botanical Gardens in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City. While this is truly a lovely setting complete with tiered seats, the constant sound of honking horns, ambulance sirens and landing jets, did try ones concentration. However, Mz Circe sat transfixed and spellbound while the tale of love and bravery wove around each audience member’s soul. We all remember witty Cyrano, don’t we?

Cyrano de Bergerac, guardsman and poet, is cursed with an enormous, bulbous, blossoming beak of a nose. To compensate for his fixed belief that no woman can ever love him on account of this affliction, he has made himself renowned in Paris for his personal bravery and charming verse. Cyrano's beautiful and wealthy cousin, Roxane, is much sought after. When Cyrano receives an urgent message from her, he is encouraged to believe she may actually love him. He finds, however, that she imagines herself in love with the handsome Christian, newly enlisted brother guardsman in Cyrano’s company, and wants Cyrano to bring them together. Putting aside his own love, Cyrano offers his powers of expression to Christian to assist in winning Roxane. Cyrano's eloquence in the many letters signed by Christian's name and the feeling in his voice as he declares his love under Roxane's balcony one dark night, bring about the marriage of Christian and Roxane just minutes before the company is ordered away to the siege of Arras. Though both men are at the front and in great peril, Roxane daily receives a letter signed by Christian. Irresistibly drawn by these letters, she dares to drive through enemy lines to reach her Christian's side. When Christian sees the power that another's letters have had over Roxane he suddenly realizes that it is Cyrano and not himself that she really loves. He insists that Cyrano tell her the truth and leaves the scene. Before Cyrano can divulge the secret, Christian is carried in mortally wounded. After Christian's death Roxane goes to live in a convent and for fifteen years Cyrano visits her there daily. Then one Saturday as he proceeds to his call, an enemy pushes a log from a window causing it to fall onto his head, breaking his skull. He hides his injury from Roxane, but begs to be allowed to read Christian's last letter which she carries always next to her heart. When in the gathering darkness Cyrano reads the letter all the way through as if knowing its contents by heart, Roxane realizes that Cyrano wrote the letters—she has found the soul she was in love with all along. Cyrano removes his hat, revealing his heavily bandaged head. Roxane exclaims that she loves him and that he cannot die.

As darkness enveloped the hushed gathering, Cyrano collapsed, gasping out his final utterance while his beloved Roxane bent over his dying form and gave voice to her belated grief and sorrow. Brimming tears spilled from our eyes as we too joined her in mourning the passing of her true love. *sigh*

1 comment:

CruiserMel said...

Except for the traffic noises, it sounds like you had a nice evening. I also love seeing Shakespeare in the Park in the summertime. Bottle of wine, picnic basket, moon & stars and some high-brow theatre. Perfect.