Love is in the air: "Cyrano De Bergerac" comes to Nevada City
“Its values and virtues are theatrical. It’s larger than life. It’s up there with Hamlet, King Lear and Oedipus. This is one of the greatest plays of all,” said John Deaderick, who is the director and will also star as Cyrano, a character with an extraordinarily long nose that serves as a burden and a motivator for this ultimate renaissance man. Theo Black is co-director and also plays the handsome yet dim-witted Christian De Neuvillette.
The two lead characters represent just a fraction of a cast that includes 21 local actors playing more than 40 parts. Deaderick said the original play, which debuted in 1897 in Paris, has more than 60 parts. The Sierra College and Colfax High School acting teacher said he has spent the better part of the past several months editing and rewriting verse for the more condensed version of a play.
In a recent interview, the directors said the play begins the moment theatre patrons walk in the door. “From the get-go, this is interactive theater. When the audience enters, they will see characters. It’s the kind of show you will remember for all time. It’s a theatrical event,” said Black, who has performed at Shakespeare festivals at Lake Tahoe and Washington, D.C.
Deaderick said those who attend the play, which is set in the year 1640, will find themselves in the middle of the action at times. “The whole inside of the Nevada Theatre is the set,” the veteran actor said. “We are going to treat the audience as characters in the play. In fact, Act 1 is set in the theater.”
The first act features a fencing duel between the lead characters that not only sets the tone for the production but goes from the stage to the seating area where the audience will get a closer look at Cyrano’s many talents.
“In the opening scene, he does a sword fight while composing a ballad and humiliating the opponent,” said Black, who is that opponent. “It’s all about the guy with the big nose.”
The strained and complicated relationship of the main characters revolves around Roxanne, who is played by Skyler Myers. Cyrano wants to court Roxanne but due to doubts that come with his outsized nose does not pursue her openly. Instead, he channels his romantic prose through Christian, who becomes the object of Roxanne’s affections until she discovers he lacks the intellect for such stirring language.
Emery, who produced his first show at the Nevada Theatre in 1971, said he believes the timing is right for a classic play like Cyrano to be shown in Nevada City. “We’ve found in years past that classic theater really works in mid-winter slots when people are in a thoughtful mode,” he said.
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