In a new translation by Ranjit Bolt under the direction of Jamie Lloyd, Cyrano de Bergerac marks our first production at the American Airlines Theatre this season in a production that will leave you breathless. Jamie is making his Broadway directorial debut with this production, and he has no interest in entering the scene quietly. Obviously, I’m perfectly aware that Cyrano is not a piece that has been neglected on big stages in recent years. However, when a director has an exciting new vision for this kind of enduring story, with new ways of looking at iconic scenes and characters, it’s foolish to let timing stand in the way. Believe me, you may have seen Cyrano before, but you’ve never seen it like this.
Jamie is adopting a visceral approach to the piece. Taking the words of Cyrano himself to heart, Jamie believes that if it’s not done with panache, it’s not worth doing. And you will see that philosophy in ample evidence throughout the production. This will not be a period piece with presentational speechifying in pretty costumes. These characters will be played as real people, in real clothes, with three-dimensional relationships. Soldiers of the 17th century were not elegant gentlemen with clean feathers in their hats. They were grimy, masculine, hungry men, aggressive in attitude (and probably quite gnarly in odor). That’s the world that you’ll be seeing in this Cyrano, one in which food and dirt are thrown about in equal measure, and every disagreement has the potential to become a bloody fight at a moment’s notice. Yes, there will be beautiful, witty language, and there will be love and romance, but these elements will shine even more brightly against a backdrop that reeks of realism.
Of course, none of this would matter without the right man playing the title role: Douglas Hodge. This production came together in large part because of my desire to work with this brilliant actor. American audiences have had the chance to see Doug in his Tony-winning performance as Albin in La Cage aux Folles, but they’ve never seen him take on a classical role like this one. Doug is one of those rare chameleonic actors who can make himself at home in any period or any style, and he is creating an utterly unique Cyrano who fits him like a glove, big nose and all. We learn so much about the plays that have stood the test of time by seeing them anew with the greatest actors making their mark on these stories. I know that Doug’s Cyrano will honor the tradition of that character’s iconic wordplay and swordplay, while also filling him with a vitality all his own.
Whether you’ve seen Cyrano in action before or will be encountering this swashbuckler for the first time, I think this production will be a thrilling one for you to see. As always, I would be very happy to hear your thoughts on the play, so please continue to share your reactions by emailing me at email@example.com.
I look forward to seeing you at the theatre!
2012-2013 Season, Cyrano de Bergerac, From Todd Haimes