Addison — Cyrano de Bergerac lived large. His passions were surpassed only by the size of his proboscis. So perhaps it isn’t possible to capture that scope in an hourlong solo show; thus, Cyrano A-Go-Go does not feel weighty enough at times. But Brad McEntire, who conceived wrote and performs the piece—presented by his Audacity Theatre Lab in the Stone Cottage at Out of the Loop—does have a number of interesting things to share with his audience, and he does so with ease and authority.
The work is described as oration, defined by McEntire as, “A combination of theatrical performance, informative lecture and staged reading.” Mark Twain and Charles Dickens were among the performers who popularized the art form.
McEntire presents a contemporary oration, blending explanation of the Rostand play with numerous personal anecdotes about young, and often unrequited love. We learn about McEntire’s discovery of the play Cyrano de Bergerac and how it fired his initial foray into theater during high school. Well, Cyrano and the pursuit of an unattainable girl.
McEntire also shares the background of the play and the actors who peopled the first production. There are some fascinating stories about Edmund Rostand the author, who appears to have suffered from social phobia and did not care for the over eager crowds, brought almost to hysteria by the initial performances. These details are compelling and help draw the audience into the production and the forces that make Cyrano such an enduring romantic figure.
McEntire takes on this romantic persona to deliver a few of Cyrano’s key speeches from the play. These are presented simply in a voice that is rich and powerful. He clearly conveys Cyrano’s resolve, particularly in the “Non Merci” speech declaiming the importance of being his own man, and not becoming a sycophantic follower of the rich and famous.
Cyrano A-Go-Go could use more powerful moments like that and a stronger marriage between the personal stories and the literary themes. However, for anyone who wants to learn more about Cyrano de Bergerac and hear some of the defining moments from his play, this could be a definite go-go!
- 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 13; 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 15
View complete Out of the Loop Fringe Festival here