Cyrano de Bergerac (2018)

Cyrano de Bergerac (2018)

Jul 20-Aug 11, 2018

Cyrano de Bergerac (2018)

"I myself am a tree, not high perhaps, not beautiful, but free."

The inspiration behind the hit film “Roxanne,” Edmond Rostand’s timeless romantic comedy has it all: passion, panache and thrilling swordplay. Cyrano, witty and proud but crippled by insecurity, secretly pines for Roxanne—but she has her eyes on handsome, empty-headed Christian. With a beating heart as big as its title character’s nose, “Cyrano de Bergerac” is one of the greatest love stories ever written.

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Plot Synopsis

The year is 1640, and the French Renaissance is at its height in Paris. Cyrano de Bergerac, a brilliant poet and swordsman with an unfortunately large nose, is madly in love with his cousin, Roxane. At the Hôtel de Bourgogne, Cyrano makes a bombastic display by ordering the lead actor off stage, and dueling those who challenge him. Patrons leave and Cyrano confides in his friend, Le Bret, that he will never reveal his true feelings to Roxane. He departs to fight the 100 men whom have been sent after the drunkard Lignière by the powerful Comte de Guiche.

The next morning at Ragueneau’s pastry shop, Roxane confesses to Cyrano her love for the new cadet, Christian de Neuvillette. Christian arrives, and confides in Cyrano his love for Roxane. Fearing himself too base for Roxane’s poetic mind, Christian is persuaded to “borrow” Cyrano’s wit in order to woo her.

At Roxane’s house, the Comte de Guiche prepares for war and bids Roxane farewell; despite her protests, he insists on returning later that night. Christian arrives and attempts to court Roxane without Cyrano’s help; it falls to Cyrano to salvage the disastrous effort. A friar appears with a letter for Roxane announcing de Guiche’s imminent arrival. Roxane informs the friar the letter contains orders for her to marry Christian, and a hasty wedding is performed while Cyrano stalls de Guiche. As soon as the wedding vows are made, Cyrano, Christian and de Guiche depart for war.

The French cadets at Arras are starving; Cyrano returns from across the Spanish lines where he ventures daily to send letters to Roxane under Christian’s name. De Guiche arrives at the army camp to inform Cyrano’s regiment they are to be attacked. Roxane surprises the cadets with a visit before the battle, and Cyrano is compelled to tell Christian of his rather frequent correspondence. Christian resolves to tell Roxane the truth. The siege begins and before the truth is revealed, Christian is slain by the Spanish army.

Fifteen years later, de Guiche and Le Bret visit Roxane at the convent where she resides. Ragueneau arrives in a hurry to announce Cyrano has been attacked. Wounded, Cyrano appears at the convent for his weekly visit to Roxane to reveal his true love and fight his final enemies.

—Alyssa Miller, Dramaturg

Director’s Note

“Falsehood, Compromise, Prejudice, Cowardice. Are you there too, Stupidity? You above all others were predestined to get me in the end. But no, I’ll fight on, fight on ...”

—Cyrano’s dying words

Now more than ever, we need this play. It was written at a time of great turbulence—not too unlike our own. Daily, sometimes hourly, we’re faced with reports of great men falling from grace … and of deeply flawed men falling further into disgrace. As a result, we’ve become starved for examples of cultural, political and personal fortitude—of panache, that admirable ability to relentlessly pursue grace, virtuosity, selflessness and uncompromising sacrifice. We all have Cyrano within us and may be reminded to strive toward achieving panache, to dive into the reservoirs of our own souls … in short, to be more like Cyrano.

What makes this play so extraordinarily moving and unique is that Cyrano’s heroism isn’t of the Marvel comic book variety: his is an heroic story, but he’s no superhero. Rather, he is beautifully and completely human—as such, he’s also flawed in his vanity and fear of being truly seen and heard. And it’s Cyrano’s very humanity that reminds us of our own foibles; at the same time, his journey also brings to mind our own strengths, our own capacity for courage and our collective fearlessness in the face of trials.

We need this play now, more than ever, to brighten the world with honor and truth—and to underscore the power of light in our hearts and rigor in our deeds. Indeed, the play counterpoints these elements constantly, a nod to Shakespeare’s mastery of contrast and antithesis. Edmond Rostand skillfully reveals the poignant, often comical interplay of opposing forces that enliven the human experience: intellect and emotion; private and public personas; idealism and rationalism; utter contentment and soul-wrenching sadness; great humor and deep seriousness; and extravagant gesture and utter stillness.

We see in Cyrano our own capacity in the lifelong struggle to replace vanity, pride, stupidity and ignorance with grace, humility and intelligence. In Cyrano, we’re reminded of our own ability to achieve collective virtuousness and deeply held honor—even in the face of all odds.

We need this play now, more than ever.

—Christopher DuVal, Director

Dramaturgy Note

Cyrano’s Panache: Grace of French Nationhood

Un peu frivole peut-être, un peu théâtral sans doute, le panache n'est qu'une grâce ; mais cette grâce est si difficile à conserver jusque devant la mort, cette grâce suppose tant de force…que, tout de même, c'est une grâce que je nous souhaite.

“A bit frivolous, perhaps, a bit theatrical without a doubt, panache is but a grace; yet this grace is so difficult to preserve in the face of death, this grace assumes such force, that, all the same, it is a grace I wish for us all.”

—Edmond Rostand (1903)

The word panache translates from French as “plume” or “feather,” but its Latin origin, pinnaculum, suggests a different definition: “pinnacle” or “peak”—and Cyrano de Bergerac was certainly the pinnacle of Edmond Rostand’s dramatic career.

In spite of a calamitous rehearsal period which left the 29-year-old playwright expectant of disaster, the first production of Cyrano in 1897 opened to rave reviews in Paris, catapulting the young Rostand into the French tradition of notable writers at the turn of the 20th century.  

In his skillfully wrought tragicomedy, Rostand invokes the concept of panache as a defining feature of the play’s quixotic protagonist and namesake, Cyrano himself. In literal terms, the panache of Rostand’s drama is a white plume—a marker of “a man’s visible soul”—which carries immense symbolic weight in battle. Indeed, in Act Four during the Siege of Arras, the Comte de Guiche boasts of his cunning to evade Spanish troops, but is shamed by Cyrano for failing to maintain possession of his panache.

On the contrary, Cyrano is self-aware of his panache every moment, adopting the more colloquial definition of the word which alludes to style, flair or flourish each time he successfully duels an opponent, improvises a perfect heroic couplet, or maintains a confounding asceticism in the name of honor and love. For truly, Cyrano embodies the pinnacle of values espoused by French culture in the mid-17th century: bravery, loyalty and a passion for the arts. yet his physical appearance cripples him with self-doubt, which manifests in pride and deceit. His external panache (his nose) becomes his downfall, while his fierce adherence to his internal panache—his unbridled loyalty and patriotism—are his ultimate salvation.

Rostand died in 1918, but his patriotic Cyrano would endure as a kind of unofficial postscript to the Romantic era of French literature—an emblem of nostalgic nationhood for a country on the brink of yet another war. In the wake of political and cultural uncertainty, Cyrano de Bergerac epitomizes Rostand’s ideal of the French nation: one which is strong and true, humble and brave and maintains the ever-theatrical and ever-forceful grace of panache.

—Alyssa Miller, Dramaturg

In Good Taste Denver

"Scott Coopwood’s Cyrano is raw, confident, wounded, complicated and funny; his performance is outstanding and believable. His magnetism and pent-up emotions won over the audience."

In Good Taste Denver

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"The show is a tight production with acting worthy of one of the country’s best examples of summer stock theater...This production is at its best is when it gives its Cyrano, played deftly by Scott Coopwood, free rein over the stage...4.5 of 5 stars"

Ramsey Scott, Sentinel

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"This tasty production will entertain you with spectacle, thrill you with inventive language and offer an intriguing glimpse into nineteenth-century French culture — at the same time reminding you of just how relevant a play that’s been around well over a century can still be."

Juliet Wittman, Westword

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"Scott Coopwood returns for his second season with the Shakes, bringing the character of Cyrano to elegant life...his delivery of complicated speeches expressing complicated emotions was flawless."

Beki Pineda

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Boulder Weekly

"As Cyrano, Coopwood positively dazzles. His assured, playful and layered performance is more than reason enough to buy a ticket for Cyrano de Bergerac."

Gary Zeidner, Boulder Weekly

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Daily Camera

"Director Christopher DuVal helms a production full of stellar performances, swashbuckling action and tragic undertones."

Adam Goldstein, Daily Camera

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Daily Camera

[The play's] deep questions about the nature of true love, as well as its swordplay, wordplay and action, will undoubtedly appeal to any true aficionado of the Bard of Avon. 

A.H. Goldstein, Daily Camera

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CU Presents

Cyrano is no small undertaking for any theatre company—this is one we’ve been preparing for years.

Timothy Orr, Producing Artistic Director

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CU Presents, "Cyrano de Bergerac is the hero we need right now"

We live in a time of anger, bitter political division and pettiness. Enter the antidote: “Cyrano de Bergerac.”

Jill Kimball, CU Presents

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CU Presents, "A Q&A with Scott Coopwood, CSF’s Cyrano de Bergerac"

“Cyrano” is so big it’s not done very often. It’s so wonderful and rich and lovely and heartbreaking. To get this opportunity is a huge responsibility, but I’m honored and I’m full of joy about it. 

Scott Coopwood (Cyrano)

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Christopher DuVal

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David Derringer

Ligniere/Nun/Cadet 4/Ensemble

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Robert Wester

Cook 3/Bertrandous/Cadet

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Bob Buckley

Montfleury/Carbon de Castel-Jaloux/Cadet 7/Ensemble

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Anne Sandoe

Mother Marguerite de Jesus/1st Marquis/Poet 4/Ensemble

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Marco Robinson*

Christian de Neuvillette

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Casey Andree

Cuigy/Citizen/Cooks 1 and 4/Cadet 8/Ensemble

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Amber Scales

Sister Marthe/Duenna/A Lady/Ensemble

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Aziza Gharib

Flower girl/Nun/Poet 3/Pickpocket/Foodseller/Ensemble

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Benaiah Anderson

Vicomte de Valvert/Cadet 1/Cadet 6/Ensemble

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AJ Voliton

Musketeer/Spanish Officer/Cadet 5

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Brynn Tucker


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Anthony Adu

Jodelet/Cadet 3/Poet 1/Guard/Actor/Nun/Ensemble

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Janae Burris

Bellerose/Doorkeeper/Actress/Poet 2/Nun/Ensemble

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Michael Bouchard


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Matthew Schneck*

Le Bret

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Rafael Untalan*

Comte de Guiche

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Scott Coopwood*

Cyrano de Bergerac

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Seth Dhonau*

Brissaille/Cavalryman/Capuchin/Another Actor/Cadet 2/Cook 2 and Apprentice/Nun/Ensemble

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Desirée Mee Jung*

Sister Claire/Lady/Lise/Precieuse/Ensemble

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Artistic Team

Assistant Sound Designer

Bailey Trierweiler

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Erika Randall

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Stage Manager

Stacy R. Norwood*

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Lighting Designer

Shannon McKinney^

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Alyssa Miller

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Scenic Designer

Stephen C. Jones^

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Costume Designer

Hugh Hanson

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Casting Director

Sylvia Gregory

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Sound Designer

Jason Ducat^

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Costume Shop Manager

Adam M. Dill

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Assistant Stage Manager

Miranda Baxter*

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