Theater Review: Cyrano de Bergerac

By Edmund Rostand; translated by Dori Parnes; directed by Gilad Kimchi; Cameri Theater, November 15.

Cameri Theater (photo credit: Lauren Izso)
Cameri Theater
(photo credit: Lauren Izso)
The brightest star of Gilad Kimchi’s inventive production is Dori Parnes’ supple, playful translation, and like the original, is rhymed. That’s only just, because Kimchi’s Cyrano is all about the power of the word in every sense to create or destroy.
The superlative Itai Tiran in the title role grabs that text, turns it inside out and upside down and in short invests it with the humor, pathos and poetry Rostand intended.
There really was a Cyrano (1619 – 55) on whose life and nose the fictional Cyrano is based. He’s a soldier, a poet, a renowned duelist and has an enormous nose that people comment on to their mortal peril. He’s in love with his beautiful cousin, Roxane (Kineret Limoni), but fears to declare his love because of his nose. In his own eyes he’s ugly, deformed.
Roxane tells him she’s in love with the handsome Baron Christian (Ido Rozenberg) and begs Cyrano to protect him. Such is his own love for Roxane that when the inarticulate Christian begs his help in wooing her, Cyrano supplies the fervid, poetic letters and speeches that pierce her heart.
When Christian is killed in battle, Roxane retires to a convent.
The last act is 14 years later. Cyrano, dying, begs to read aloud Christian’s last letter to her. As he reads, Roxane realizing its real author, declares her love for Cyrano, but too late.
There are too many felicities in this production to list. They include the wonderful Dudu Niv as Rageneau the poet pastry- cook, a brilliant dance number in his patisserie, and another even better when Cyrano’s fellow Gascon cadets extol themselves, Eran Atzmon’s two level set, especially the bank of incinerated papers in the second half, Ola Shevstov’s costumes marrying the 17th and 21st centuries, the swordplay… Yes, the minor players come nowhere near the leads, so there’s a quality gap. Yes, Limoni’s Roxane could use a bit more mystery, but these are niggles.
Panache was Rostand’s word for Cyrano, and this production has it in spades.