Woodbridge Senior High School Cyrano de BergeracBy Cappies • Feb 12th, 2013 • Category: Cappies
The human mind forms first impressions of people within seconds, including love at first sight, but should something as valuable as love be based on such quick judgment? With panache and humor, Woodbridge Senior High School’s rousing production of Cyrano de Bergerac posed such fascinating questions about love and what defines it.
Originally written in 1897 by French author Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac has since been adapted into a myriad of different mediums, including the 1987 film, “Roxanne,” starring Steve Martin. Using Barry Kornhauser’s play adaptation, Woodbridge Senior High School’s production utilized gender switches for nearly all the characters, allowing female actors more performance opportunities than in the originally male-dominated show. Spoken entirely in rhyming couplet verses, the play chronicles the life of Cyrano, a strong-willed French cadet soldier whose love for her cousin, Roger, goes unreciprocated. Her unusually large, ugly nose only discourages her from pursuing Roger, who has fallen in love with Paris newcomer, Christiane de Neuvillette. The love triangle soon grows more complex as the war intensifies and Cyrano is asked by Roger to take care of Christiane in battle. Though highly eloquent, Cyrano struggles to convey her true romantic feelings and overcome her self-doubt.
Starring in the titular role, Kaitlyn Rhyne showcased impeccable memorization and a thorough understanding of the script. Rhyne clearly displayed the duality of Cyrano’s ostentatious savoir-faire and her underlying feelings of self-consciousness. Opposite Rhyne was Bryson Jenkins as Roger, Cyrano’s love interest. Exuding charmful innocence, Jenkins’ performance seemed natural and unforced, connecting believably with Hannah Taylor’s character, Christiane. Taylor too, exhibited clear enunciation and all three played off each other well with energy and enthusiasm.
Actors who especially stood out for their spot-on comedic timing included Rachel Price as Ragueneau, a drunk bakery owner, and Harrison Simpson as the Companion, Roger’s servant. Price’s consistent slurred speech, tipsy walk, and strong characterization kept up the energy of the show, while Simpson, casually in the background of many scenes, would remain speechless at times, only to chime in randomly with a witty one-liner or sassy remark about a character’s actions, resulting in peals of laughter. Zoe Sellers portrayed the forceful, deceptive Countess de Guiche, a powerful French noblewoman. Sellers’ mature aura and pointed enunciation highlighted de Guiche’s pompous, snobbish attitude and disdain for those she deemed inferior.
With the intimacy of a black box theatre, actors were able to connect more personally with their audience. All props were effectively used, including swords, instruments and real food. Transitions into different scenes, though a bit lagging, were quiet and commendable as the stage crew handled bulky set pieces with ease.
Despite slow pacing and some flubbed lines, the ensemble handled the extremely lengthy script and unusual language admirably. Though energy and enunciation at times could have been improved, each actor showcased a meaningful commitment to character choices.
Weaving together comedy and tragedy, Woodbridge’s production of Cyrano ultimately depicted the woes of unrequited love, triumph of true affection, and the simple fact, as Cyrano and Roger learn, that “there are some things the heart cannot disguise.”
by Jamie Joeyen-Waldorf of Langley High School
Photos by Jan Dylewski
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