The opening night performance of Cedarville’s “Cyrano De Bergerac” Feb. 4. surely resonated with most attendees, namely those that have experienced the feeling of love and the uncertainty of it.
“Cyrano De Bergerac” focuses on the title character, played by senior David Widder-Varhegyi, and his love for his cousin Roxane, played by junior Emma Kowatch. But unfortunately for Cyrano, Roxane falls for another man, Christian, played by senior Andrew Poplin.
In the play, Poplin’s character brilliantly portrays the feeling of a love-struck but uncertain man. He loves Roxane but is uncertain whether she would love him back, because although he is good looking, he lacks wit.
Christian’s exclamation, “Oh heavens, she’s looking at me,” and the quick hiding of his face when Roxane looks in his direction resonated well with the audience. It drew to mind the feelings one gets when a love interest looks in one’s direction: butterflies rush to the stomach, blood pours into the face and a creeping hope that one’s love interest feels the same sneaks in.
Cyrano is the opposite of Christian. He is a skilled fighter and poet, the model courtier, but he feels unable to approach Roxane because of his ridiculously large nose. As Cyrano confided with his friend Le Bret (senior Chad Smith) about his love for Roxane and his fears of rejection, the audience hushed at the simple, but familiar, fear of inadequacy and the uncertainty that someone could love them, flaws and all.
Roxane at the start seems very naive with how she pursues love. She knows love is based on more than material possessions, since she dismisses the advances of the wealthy and influential De Guiche, but she struggles with finding what she should truly value in a man. Should she value wits or looks, and why not both?
When she tells Cyrano that she loves Christian and asks him to protect Christian, Cyrano is put in a painful position, knowing the girl he loves only sees him as a close friend and loves someone else. The audience seemed to understand the pain in his heart as he struggled to contain his feelings and even agree to protect Christian.
When the two men form an unlikely alliance to win Roxane’s heart by combining Cyrano’s wit and Christian’s good looks, the play begins to move from comedy to tragedy.
Christian struggles with guilt and doubts whether Roxane loves him or the words she thinks are his. Cyrano continues the deception, longing to have his words heard by the woman he loves but fearing that if Roxane knew they were his, she would reject him because of his nose.
Roxane becomes the victim in all of this as she struggles to find the reason for her love.
The development of the play from a light-hearted comedy to more of a romantic tragedy is smooth and seamless. The actors portray the characters of the play expertly as they express the complicated emotions of love, self-doubt, self-sacrifice and sorrow.
This fast-paced and witty play takes the serious topic of love and mellows it with light-hearted humor. The play is thought-provoking and something one can relate to. The play forces the audience to consider the importance of honesty in a relationship and the damage concealing one’s feelings can do. “Cyrano” also stresses accepting oneself rather than trying to be someone else.
This heart-touching play is a classic and a must see for anyone who may relate to Cyrano’s struggles of love and self-acceptance. “Cyrano De Bergerac” plays through Feb. 14 in the DeVries Theater. Purchase tickets at the SSC Information Desk, by phone at 937-776-7787, or online at cedarville.edu/ticketinfo.
Keegan D’Alfonso is a freshman journalism major and a reporter for Cedars. He was a sergeant in the Marines and enjoys learning about and experiencing other cultures.