Updated: Mar 1, 2022
Cyrano de Bergerac is a play written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand. There was a real Cyrano de Bergerac, and the play is a fictionalisation following the broad outlines of his life.
The entire play is written in verse, in rhyming couplets of twelve syllables per line, very close to the classical alexandrine form, but the verses sometimes lack a caesura (a pause or break in the verse). It is also meticulously researched, down to the names of the members of the Académie française and the dames précieuses glimpsed before the performance in the first scene.
The play has been translated and performed many times, and it is responsible for introducing the word "panache" into the English language. Cyrano (the character) is in fact famed for his panache, and he himself makes reference to "my panache" in the play. The two most famous English translations are those by Brian Hooker and Anthony Burgess.
Hercule Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac, a cadet (nobleman serving as a soldier) in the French Army, is a brash, strong-willed man of many talents. In addition to being a remarkable duelist, he is a gifted, joyful poet and is also a musical artist. However, he has an obnoxiously large nose, which causes him to doubt himself. This doubt prevents him from expressing his love for his distant cousin, the beautiful and intellectual Roxane, as he believes that his ugliness would prevent him the "dream of being loved by even an ugly woman."
1950 - Cyrano de Bergerac - Available on Amazon Prime (IMDbTV)
José Ferrer played the role in the 1950 film, the first English-language adaptation of the play. The film was made on a low budget, and despite being a box office bomb, received critical acclaim, and Ferrer won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Nevertheless, it has become a film classic. This is perhaps the most famous film version of the play. Ferrer reprised the role in Cyrano and d'Artagnan in 1964.
1987 - Roxanne
A contemporary comedy version with a happy ending added, starred Steve Martin as C.D. Bales, Daryl Hannah as Roxanne.
1990 - Cyrano de Bergerac
A French adaptation with Gérard Depardieu in the title role won several awards and was nominated for an Oscar.
2018 - Old Boys
The British comedy Old Boys is a school-set re-working of the play where an awkward but imaginative pupil helps the handsome but spectacularly dim school-hero pursue the fiery daughter of a visiting French teacher.
2021 - Cyrno
Cyrano is an American-British musical drama film directed by Joe Wright, based on Erica Schmidt's 2018 stage musical. It stars Peter Dinklage as Cyrano. Instead of a facial disfigurement, Cyrano is a dwarf.
How do you rate these films?...
Recent Stage Adaptations...
2019 - A new adaptation by Martin Crimp produced by The Jamie Lloyd Company and starring James McAvoy started at the Playhouse Theatre in London on 27 November.
Our Dunfermline Seniors working on Cyrano de Bergerac....
Clip from our Online Class...
Make sure you are booked in for this week's DRAMA CLASSES