Cyrano — not quite on the nose
New York City excels at putting on a show — whether productions are mounted in theaters or on the street. End of the year holiday season is the ultimate climax to bring the whole year to a close.
2019 also marks the end of a decade with many of us eager to move into the new year and however 2020 will unfold for us.
wonder | wander | women love this season best for dressing up to enjoy the city’s holiday festivities.
To add fun to our outing Mahala suggested we book dinner at a nearby French restaurant. We picked the ideal place — Boucherie on Union Square — a grand venue for a great feast in good company with a dear lifetime friend.
We took our time to enjoy and imbibe our sumptuous feast. Fully injesting our French ambiance — digesting and carrying it over to the show — for a more full flavored and faceted immersion.
For starters we ordered our drinks — a glass of the house Bordeaux and a sweet and potent drink aptly dubbed “La Vie en Rose”. Just the perfect touch to unwind with and warm up for the evening.
Everything on the menu was a temptation — offering French classics and timeless bistro favorites — but we soon chose the duck leg confit and a coq au vin.
Our final pièce de résistance of course had to be the Crepes Suzette — all creamy silky sweetness for our sated palates.
It was a good thing the restaurant was just a brisk walk to the theater and we had plenty of time to spare. As we lifted our heavier happier bums off our seats to waddle out into the cold night.
With an imposing facade the Daryl Roth Theatre was impressive in its exterior but once inside the seating was tight and cramped in narrow bleachers with added front rows of stacking chairs. The fact that they were bolted to the back of the risers did not quell our initial concerns.
As the flimsy black curtain was pulled apart a raw scene was revealed by a lone harsh bulb at center stage. It started looking a bit too minimalist for our taste but soon enough we were all transported into the classic tale of unrequited love and all attendant heightened histrionics.
This new staging of Cyrano is not so much a musical nor the the classic tale originally told by Edmond Rostand. This retelling fell dreamily somewhere in between — carried by the yearning of the actors, the romantic musical arrangements, and the stop-go slow-mo choreography set amidst a Baroque like painting.
Peter Dinklage was mesmerizing — having us fall too easily in love with this Cyrano in his delivery of a proud woeful wooing hero who judges himself unlovable. Read the full New Yorker interview for a behind the scenes peek into his current doings post Game of Thrones.
Blake Jenner plays the beautiful dolt and object of Roxanne’s infatuation with sweet guilelessness, yet also believes himself unlovable. While Ritchie Coster as the vile villain, the powerful and wealthy De Guise, made outrageous demands of love from all quarters so believable our hearts softened toward him too.
It’s too bad the women in the cast were not as empowered in their performance and roles. Roxanne played by Jasmine Cephas Jones, came nowhere near her Penny of Hamilton fame. Grace McLean as chaperone and red nun was superb in each role’s highlights and recognizable even as a small bit soldier. And the delicate grace of Hillary Fisher shone bright and steady each time she appeared onstage.
But in this truncated adaptation the women were presented as erratic and improbable with so much more focused on the war scene drama or the background bakers ballet. Why bother to update and modernize this story if the aesthetics get in the way of substance and essence?
All the elements of this new adaptation were a marvel in originality and certainly provocative. We would have loved to have had the women show up more memorably as well.
Originally published at https://wonderwanderwomen.blogspot.com.