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MCT Proposal - Cyrano

CYRANO, a NEW translation (2016) by Michael Hollinger,

adapted by Michael Hollinger and Aaron Posner

Directed by Sarah Sheldrick


Play Synopsis

From the author: “The most legendary nose in literature gets a makeover with this lively American adaptation of the 1897 French classic. Will Roxane fall for Christian’s dashing looks or Cyrano’s daring poetry? Find out in this timeless tale—full of wordplay and swordplay—that’s been an inspiration to writers and lovers for centuries.”


Vision Statement

What is your hot take on this play? Why is it a play that should be performed now, in this specific community? What themes will you highlight? What makes you passionate about this particular play? How will the way you stage it make it a stronger performance?


A Modern Minimalist Journey of Self-Acceptance and Love in Cyrano


In this exciting new translation of Cyrano, adapted by Michael Hollinger and Aaron Posner, we embark on a fast-moving and uproariously funny journey. While retaining the essence of the classic story, our modern interpretation breathes fresh life into the beloved tale, emphasizing the quest for love and the true definition of beauty.


Themes and Issues: Cyrano's enduring significance lies in its exploration of self-esteem, belonging, and the search for love. Our production delves into the complexities of human emotions, weaving together adventure, comedy, and tragedy. Cyrano's transformative journey centers on learning to embrace self-acceptance, love, and trust, resonating with audiences as they witness the characters' struggles mirrored in their own lives.


A Celebration of Theatre: This production of Cyrano is not just a performance but a celebration of the theatrical art form. Our minimalist approach allows us to find the extraordinary within the ordinary, highlighting the design elements that make theatre genuinely iconic. We will remove unnecessary theatrics and immerse the audience in the authentic experience of putting on a show.


The Evolution of Staging: We will take the audience on a journey from the first read-through on a blank stage. Our staging will evolve alongside the plot, mirroring the growth of our characters. By the final act, the stage will transform into a fully developed production in striking juxtaposition with Cyrano's poignant final moments.


Modern vs. Historical Aesthetics: Our actors will be dressed in modern, everyday attire, embodying relatable personas. However, they will seamlessly transition into full historical costumes as the narrative progresses. This transformation represents the characters' evolution as they move past their insecurities toward self-acceptance and love.


Symbolism of Costumes and Props: Throughout the play, the actors will have access to costume pieces hanging within view on classic costume racks and rehearsal props that are eclectic and mismatched. These symbolic elements reflect the characters' internal struggles, reminding the audience that we all carry our insecurities and imperfections.


The Quest for Self-Acceptance: Through my own life, I've learned the incredible power of embracing our authentic selves, and that's precisely why the production of Cyrano is so vital. As we witness Cyrano, Roxanne, and Christian navigate the complexities of their identities, we are reminded of the eternal quest for self-love and acceptance that resonates deeply with all of us.


CYRANO

With Cyrano’s brilliance as a poet and panache, Cyrano showcases the beauty of embracing one's unique gifts. He reflects on the importance of recognizing and celebrating our individuality, no matter how unconventional it may seem. In a world that often demands conformity, Cyrano's character reminds us to stand boldly in our truth and find strength in our differences. "I am hurt! Why, every day I wake. From dreams that look me in the face and laugh." This quote speaks to the pain and trauma that Cyrano experiences daily, where his disfigurement becomes a haunting reminder of the obstacles in fully embracing himself and being vulnerable to others. Cyrano's life is tragically marked by the myriad masks he wears to shield himself from the world. His eloquence becomes a powerful tool, veiling his insecurities and disfigurement behind a façade of wit and poetic charm. Yet, despite his brilliance in crafting words, these masks blind him to the truth of his worthiness and prevent him from fully embracing love and acceptance. His pride and insecurity are barriers, keeping him from revealing his true self and exposing his vulnerabilities to others. In his desperate attempt to avoid harsh judgments, he hurts himself and those who care for him. Cyrano inadvertently creates a web of misunderstandings and unfulfilled emotions, causing pain to those who love him, including himself. His tragic flaw becomes a double-edged sword, where the defense mechanisms he uses only leads to further isolation and heartache. In the end, Cyrano's story becomes a profound reflection on the human condition, and the impact trauma and self-doubt can have on one's ability to love. It urges us to be mindful of the masks we wear, brave enough to lower our defenses and embrace our vulnerabilities as a path towards genuine connection and self-acceptance.


ROXANNE

Roxanne's character in Cyrano is a timeless portrayal of the immense pressures imposed on women by society's rigid gender roles and unattainable beauty standards in a world saturated with social media and reality TV shows like The Bachelor. Roxanne's presence becomes an opportunity to challenge and unpack these harmful stereotypes and societal expectations. With her stunning beauty, Roxanne embodies the societal pressure and expectations placed upon women to conform to narrow definitions of femininity. She grapples with being defined solely by her appearance and struggling to break free from superficial judgments. However, as we witness her interactions with Cyrano and Christian, we also glimpse her yearning for love that transcends surface-level attributes. Through her journey, Roxanne powerfully reminds us of the courage it takes to embrace our true essence. Her story calls upon us to challenge these limiting norms, paving the way for authentic connections based on genuine appreciation and love. In the words of Roxanne, "Love is a meeting of souls, not just a mingling of bodies. The heart and mind matter more than any outward appearance. It's in the depths of connection that true beauty resides."


CHRISTIAN

Christian embodies the classic masculine strength society often praises. Christian's character mirrors a stark reality, where the weight of toxic masculinity and gender conformity prevents him from the connection he craves. These pressures to conform to a narrow definition of strength can create barriers for men in embracing vulnerability and connections. Christian reminds us of the urgent need to challenge and redefine the concept of strength in our society. As we recognize the impact of toxic masculinity in our modern world, let us use theatre as a powerful platform to promote dialogue and positive change. Christian's character is a profound spiritual symbol of sacrifice and the essence of unconditional love. He embodies the beauty within for loving all, transcending appearances, and focusing on the purity of the heart. In the play, Christian declares: "I love her for the soul. The soul is everything. The beauty you see in her is the beauty you have given her." His character mirrors many struggles in embracing vulnerability. In this production, we can challenge harmful stereotypes, and, ultimately, contribute to a world where men feel empowered to love and accept themselves fully and forge meaningful connections with others.


FINAL THOUGHTS: To bring this production to life, let us embrace the power of representation on stage. The diverse identities and struggles portrayed in Cyrano remind us of the beauty and complexity of being human. In this production, we can challenge harmful stereotypes, celebrate our imperfections, and ultimately contribute to a world where all feel empowered to love and participate in meaningful connections with others. Let us tell the story of Cyrano, Roxanne, and Christian, recognizing that their struggles are our own. In doing so, we create a space where every individual can find solace in shared experiences and embrace the beauty of their ---- Panache!


Peace, Love, and Light, Sarah A. Sheldrick (she/her)


Supplemental Materials



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