Based on the classic “Cyrano de Bergerac” originally written in French verse by Edmond Rostand in 1897, this translation by Michael Hollinger adapted for the stage with Aaron Posner is a successful reinterpretation using a more modern dialog that preserves much of the courtly charm necessary to the play’s setting.
The title character of Cyrano (Michael B. Woods) is an accomplished courtier in 17th Century France, an unparalleled master of the sword and the word whose personal relationships are hampered by what he perceives as a hideous deformity, namely a grotesquely enormous and unsightly nose.
Cyrano conspires with a fellow comrade-in-arms, Christian (Zach Livingston) to woo and win the affection of the lovely Roxane (Vahishta Vafadari). Christian will supply the good looks while Cyrano supplies the requisite language of love.
Cyrano’s own self-hate is his worst enemy that keeps him separated from his desire.
The fight choreography by Jon Beal was a highlight of this production making me wish that the same level of effort was put into the rest of the lackluster performances.
Since none of the actors seemed fully invested in their characters I must set the fault at the feet of Director Steve O’Connell’s ability to rally the troupe.
Though this adaptation aims to “ditch the pretentions” it should not be at the expense of nuance and the basic humanity of the characters nor the charm of the language. Here the actors rely too heavily on the words to do all of their heavy lifting and doing little to breathe life into their respective roles.
BoHo is intended to be “a launching pad for up-and-coming actors” but in this case was a lost opportunity to show us what you got.
This Cliff’s Notes version provides a few memorable moments provided mostly by the text and is a good introduction to the book however, it definitely lacks panache.
DETAILS: ‘Cyrano’ by BoHo Theatre at Theatre Wit, 1229 W. Belmont in Chicago runs through April 15, 2018. For tickets and other information call or call (773) 975-8150 or visit BoHoTheatre.com.
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