Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

"Cyrano De Bergerac," Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.

"Cyrano De Bergerac" is one of our favorite plays, so when we saw that the Milwaukee Rep was doing it this season, we had to go. An addtional incentive was Lee E. Ernst in the title role. We had seen Ernst do the show before, in a very strong production mounted by American Players Theater some years ago, and he was excellent.

We were overall very impressed by this production. The Rep went all out on costumes and used a very clever set which made the opening act at the Hotel de Burgoyne particularly attractive, and worked well for subsequent scenes as well. I was less well pleased with the adaptation. Since Rostand's orginal is in French, there have been a number of translations, some of which preserve the verse form (which I prefer) and some distressingly pedestrian. This translation by Brian Hooker, falls somewhere in between, but is acceptable. "Cyrano" as written is a long play with five acts, so there is a tendency to cut it to make it acceptable to modern audiences. This adaptation did one thing I have seen before, which is to combine the second and third acts into one, which works acceptably, although in this case, Cyrano's poetic introduction of the "Cadets" was cut, which I missed. More surprising was the radical cutting of the fourth act, the seige of Arras, which was pared down to the bare minimum, excluding the sequence in which De Guiche redeems himself by electing to remain on the ramparts with the Gascons. Consequently, he was also cut from the fifth scene, so we do not see that at that time he is a Marshal of France and Roxann considers him a friend.

Ernst delivered a very strong, affecting, and essentially flawless performance as Cyrano. (One thing I would change: I think in the final scene Cyrano should have his sword and not just his cane, but that may have been a directorial decision--). Erin Partin, new to the company, was picture-perfect and wonderful as Roxann (and props to whomever settled on her period-appropriate hair style). Andre Martin was handsome and stalwart, but not too pretty as Christian, and showed real anguish in the seige scene when Roxann reveals that it is his soul (i.e., Cyrano's words) she loves and not his looks alone any longer. They were ably supported by Rep stalwarts Jonathan Gillard Daly as Le Bret, Steven Hauck as De Guiche, and lively and exciting company. Highly reccommended!
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