Thursday, August 5, 2010

Spotlight On: Cyrano!

This weekend, our Middle School Ensemble - under the intrepid direction of professional actor and teaching artist Kelly Kitchens - tackles the French classic Cyrano de Bergerac. Written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand, the play is very loosely based on the real-life Cyrano de Bergerac, a 17th century dramatist.

The big question with any play originally written in another language is which English translation to use. For a play over a century old, particularly a popular classic like Cyrano, there are dozens of translations of varying lengths and qualities. For this production, Kelly and Artistic Director Shana Bestock chose a translation/adaptation by Belgian director Jo Roet. Centerstage, a Baltimore theater company, produced the play and describes it this way: "Jo Roet’s adaptation distills the language, action, and romance that make Rostand’s play a classic, while shaking things up a bit structurally: this version runs less than an hour, as three actors take on all of the roles."

Our production uses many more than three actors, of course! But the adaptation's playful take on the classic is a natural fit for our exuberant middle school students. And despite the importance of choosing a good translation, the production features a shout-out to the original. Featured prominently on the set is Cyrano's final love letter, in Rostand's original French:

' ; Roxane, adieu ! Je bientôt dois mourir ! Cette nuit même, aimée ; et I Sentez mon âme lourde avec amour incalculable. Je meurs ! Pas plus, comme en jours de, Mon aimer, les yeux désirants ardemment se régalera Sur votre moindre geste-ay, les mineurs ! Je m'occupe de moi la manière que vous touchez votre joue Avec votre doigt, doucement, en tant que vous parlez ! Ah je ! Je sais ce geste bien ! Mon coeur pleure dehors ! - Je pleure " ; Farewell" ; ! ' ; ' ; Ma vie, mon amour, mon bijou, mon bonbon, mon coeur a été à vous dans chaque battement ! ' ; ' ; Ici, mourant, et là, dans la terre sur la haute, je suis lui qui a aimé, qui vous aime, - I.

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