Thursday, June 18, 1998
There are many things to recommend Pacific Repertory Theater''s current production of Cyrano. First, there''s John Wells'' new adaptation of Edmond Rostand''s original script (in French, from 1897) which smooths out some of the rough English translations, leaving a straightforward retelling of the story about a soldier whose heart is as big as his nose. Then, too, there are some fine performances--particularly in the supporting roles. Add to those merits crisp staging (by director Stephen Moorer) and eye-pleasing visual elements by designers Steve Judge (set), Rhonda Griffith (costumes) and Ed Hills (lighting). But, even with all those pluses, there''s something missing.
Most people, at this point, know the story of Cyrano de Bergerac (played here by John Rousseau), the poetic, choleric, long-snouted soldier who is in love with Roxanne (Julie Hughett), who, in turn, loves the handsome Christian (John Farmanesh-Bocca), her would-be suitor. Cyrano, conscious of his protuberant proboscis, can''t bring himself to woo Roxanne directly, so when Christian turns to Cyrano for help in framing love letters, Cyrano throws himself into the task with passion, masking his words with Christian''s face. And everything ends badly.
There are a riot of passions written in the love triangle, both expressed and repressed. And conveying those passions is where this production stumbles--particularly troubling in a production centered around a poet. Perhaps because everything about the production, from script to staging to design is so evenly crisp, there''s little evidence of the murky subtext of emotions, doubts and battles that arise from the "foul rag and bone shop of the heart" (to quote another poet, WB Yeats).
In addition to the disastrous menage a trois, this play offers other opportunities for passionate performance, some of which are realized (most notably by actor Hal Peiken as Cyrano''s baker buddy Raganeau) and others which are missed.
All that being said, I saw the show on what amounted to its second night (second nights are notorious for enervated performances), and it was a benefit performance to boot. Both circumstances may have conspired to dampen the cast''s energy. Perhaps by this weekend the show will display more dramatic rise and fall as everyone catches their breath.
And now, in fairness, after dishing out lumps to the production, I must give one to myself: I mistimed my arrival at the theater and arrived about five minutes late. I apologize for my tardiness. cw
Friday and Saturday, 7:30pm. Comedic Drama. (See this week''s review.) Pacific Repertory Theater, in the Golden Bough, Monte Verde Street between 8th and 9th avenues, Carmel. 622-0100. $15/general; $10/children;seniors. Through: 7/19.
Thursday through Sunday, 8pm. Musical Comedy. A cast of 50 sings and dances its way through one of the most famous Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. Filled with overalls and sunshine and cowboys and corn, Oklahoma! features hit numbers including the title song and "Surrey With the Fringe on Top." It''s been done before and will be done again, but it''s a sure-fire crowd pleaser for the entire family. The Forest Theater, Mountain View and Santa Rita streets, Carmel. 626-1681. $15/general; free/children under 6; $10/seniors. Through: 7/3.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo''s Nest
Special benefit performance for the Carl Cherry Center Thursday, 8pm, $15; Friday & Saturday, 8pm; Closes Sunday, 2pm. Dramatic Comedy. Magic Circle Theater''s Elsa Con directs Dale Wasserman''s classic adaptation of Ken Kesey''s novel. The cast features some strong local performers (including Peter Reynolds, Roo Hornady, Rob Foster and Michael Robbins) who have the potential to create a show that is thoughtful, humorous and moving all at the same time. Carl Cherry Center, Guadalupe Street and 4th Avenue, Carmel. 659-8244. $12/general; $10/children, seniors. Through: 6/21.
Performance Brunch Series
Sunday, 11:30am. Poetry Reading. Mary Anne Randl presents "Bare Bones," her award-winning poetry. The General Store/Forge in the Forest, Junipero Street and 5th Avenue, Carmel. 624-2233. $14/includes brunch/general.
Side by Side by Sondheim
Friday & Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 7pm. Musical Revue. Director Sid Cato returns to the Monterey Peninsula for this paen to Stephen Sondheim. The play covers the celebrated composer/dramatist''s early works with songs from such shows as West Side Story, Gypsy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music and others. In addition to directing, Cato makes a rare local onstage appearance with the rest of his cast: Maryann Schaupp Rousseau, John Daniel, Carey Sheffield, and Carl Palme. Often performed on large stages, the relatively small confines of the Hoffman Playhouse should add a refreshing degree of intimacy. Hoffman Ave. Playhouse, 320 Hoffman Ave., Monterey. 649-0259. $15/general/general; $12/children, seniors. Through: 7/5.
Thursday, 7:30pm; Saturday, 2pm. Comedic Drama. Playwright AR Gurney offers up a look at family relationships throught the eyes of an adopted dog. The show features guest performances by April Burton (as the title pooch) and Barbara Anderson--both of whom have extensive stage and screen credits--Todd Lueders and John Farmenesh-Bocca. With Gurney''s ability to take a serious situation and turn it into a surreal flight of comedic fancy, you have a lot of reasons for going to see this show. Pacific Repertory Theater, at the Circle Theater in the Golden Bough, Casanova Street between 8th and 9th avenues, Carmel. 622-0100. $15/general; $8/children; seniors. Through: 7/25.
Friday & Saturday, 8pm. Melodrama. Classic melodrama about the evils of drink. California''s First Theater, Scott and Pacific streets, Monterey. 375-4916. Through: 6/30.
The Miracle Worker
Friday & Saturday, 8pm. Drama. Although it''s become a favorite of high school and community theater groups (and possibly, therefore, overexposed), William Gibson''s contemporary classic is emotionally powerful in relating the story of the young, blind, deaf and mute Helen Keller, and her teacher, miracle worker Annie Sullivan. With Jani Davis (who always provides a steady, compassionate quality to her characters) in the title role, this promises to be a good, uplifting--although now predictable--tear-jerker as the pair triumph over physical and societal adversity. Western Stage of Hartnell College, 156 Homestead Ave., Salinas. 755-6816, 375-2111. $15/general; $10/children; $13/students and seniors. Through: 6/28.