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The Collegian

    Production of French drama to tell classic tale of love, intrigue

    Dr. Darren Lawson, who plays Cyrano de Bergerac, rehearses with the cast for the upcoming Artist Series performances. Photo: Molly Waits

    A play of love, war and inner beauty, Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, directed by Mr. Jeff Stegall of the theatre arts faculty, will be performed at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights next week.

    The play centers on Cyrano de Bergerac, played by Dr. Darren Lawson, dean of the School of Fine Arts and Communication. Cyrano is a man of great talent and inner beauty, but is unfortunately marred by an ugly physical appearance, capped off by a very large nose.

    “He’s the perfect Renaissance man,” Stegall said. “He’s a poet, sword fighter and philosopher.” Despite these character qualities, Cyrano believes he will never be loved by a woman because of his nose. But doubts about his self-image don’t keep him from falling in love with Roxane, his beautiful and intellectual cousin, who is played by Elena Taylor, a senior communication disorders major.

    The story becomes a classic love triangle when Roxane becomes infatuated with the handsome, but not very smart, Christian, played by junior theatre arts major, Matt Jones.

    In a tragic twist of fate, Christian is sent as a new cadet to Cyrano’s regiment, and Roxane begs Cyrano to protect him. Christian, who loves Roxane in return but doesn’t have the ability to woo her, ironically asks Cyrano to write to Roxane in Christian’s name. Cyrano does so, causing Roxane to fall even more deeply in love with Christian.

    Roxane is so much in love with the beautiful, romantic letters, and therefore Christian, that she ends up visiting the battlefield where both men are fighting.

    “What happens next changes everything,” Stegall said. “I don’t want to give away a spoiler.”

    One vital plot development during the performance is the transformation of Cyrano throughout the production. “It’s so much about who he is,” Stegall said. “I’m sure he will be the highlight.”

    But the acting isn’t the only thing to look out for. The elaborate costumes and stage pieces have been under construction since early summer.

    The set design for Cyrano is of special interest. The opening act begins with a theater scene, so the viewer is introduced to a theater within a theater. Although there are five very different locations used throughout the play, all set pieces will remain on stage and will be incorporated into each new scene.

    “The whole stage is a theatrical trick,” Stegall said. “It’s like a puzzle.”

    With a unique set and a riveting plot, Cyrano is sure to interest viewers from all backgrounds. “It’s a great story,” Stegall said. “A love story for the girls and sword fights for the guys, but everybody can appreciate both things. It has action-packed sequences and beautiful language.”

    Cyrano has a gripping story line and a message that resounds with every child of God. “It’s a timeless theme,” said Sterling Street, a sophomore theatre arts major playing the foppish Viscomte Valvert. “Inner beauty is far more beautiful than the mirage of outer beauty.”

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    Production of French drama to tell classic tale of love, intrigue