Sunday, February 09, 2020

PG Tips

Act 5 of Cyrano de Bergerac is essentially an epilogue set 15 years after the main events; Roxanne realises it was Cyrano who wrote the letters her lost love Christian sent, and as the light fades in the convent (literally and metaphorically) understands too late that she is losing her soulmate.

Here's the elevator pitch; we jettison the first four acts and transubstantiate the literary French verse into Cardiff's vernacular as a one act PG memory play called Nazareth House.

In our version, Roxanne, now a spinster school teacher, is visiting Cyrano at the residential home run by the religious sisters. The Gascon Cadets are a rugby club and the historical inspiration for Cyrano himself is the Carwyn James of the biography Into the Wind.
Carwyn James was a genius. He was also a tormented soul. The two sides of his life are explored in this biography, which contains new information and never-before-seen photographs.
Carwyn wore the red rugby shirt of his country, and coached not only the Lions but also his club, Llanelli, to victory against the All Blacks. He stood in a general election, contributed to radio and TV broadcasting over four decades and inspired several generations of students with his insights into literature.
This volume discusses all of those incredible achievements, but also raises a host of questions about issues such as his relationship with the Welsh Rugby Union and the BBC, as well as analysing the missed opportunity for him to coach his national team. It also fully addresses Carwyn’s battle with his sexuality, the lonely years in Italy and the period leading up to his tragic death in Amsterdam in 1983, at the age of just 53.
In Act V, scene vi of the original Cyrano says that his role in life has been to inspire others: Molière had genius, Christian beauty, but he was fated always to be hidden beneath the balcony while someone else ascended.

In the memory play Cyrano isn't sure if it was Roxanne or Christian he truly loved, so his wooing of Roxanne from the shadows as if he was Christian is even more ambiguous.

Here is the dialogue that needs to be reworked as the heart of the piece.

Oui, ma vie
Ce fut d'être celui qui souffle--et qu'on oublie !
(A Roxane):
Vous souvient-il du soir où Christian vous parla
Sous le balcon ? Eh bien ! toute ma vie est là:
Pendant que je restais en bas, dans l'ombre noire,
D'autres montaient cueillir le baiser de la gloire !
C'est justice, et j'approuve au seuil de mon tombeau:
Molière a du génie et Christian était beau !
(A ce moment, la cloche de la chapelle ayant tinté, on voit passer au
fond, dans l'allée, les religieuses se rendant à l'office):
Qu'elles aillent prier puisque leur cloche sonne !

ROXANE (se relevant pour appeler):
Ma soeur ! ma soeur !

CYRANO (la retenant):
Non ! non ! n'allez chercher personne:
Quand vous reviendriez, je ne serais plus là.
(Les religieuses sont entrées dans la chapelle, on entend l'orgue):
Il me manquait un peu d'harmonie. . .en voilà.

Je vous aime, vivez !

Non ! car c'est dans le conte
Que lorsqu'on dit: Je t'aime ! au prince plein de honte,
Il sent sa laideur fondre à ces mots de soleil. . .
Mais tu t'apercevrais que je reste pareil.

J'ai fait votre malheur ! moi ! moi !

Vous ?. . .au contraire !
J'ignorais la douceur féminine. Ma mère
Ne m'a pas trouvé beau. Je n'ai pas eu de soeur.
Plus tard, j'ai redouté l'amante à l'oeil moqueur.
Je vous dois d'avoir eu, tout au moins, une amie.
Grâce à vous une robe a passé dans ma vie.

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