James McAvoy Is A Charismatic Cyrano In Brooklyn

The tragedy stems from the main players beginning the play with narrowed imaginations. They are in love with intellect, but they must move forward to realize the limitations of their own consciousness. Roxane realizes too late the possibility of loving two men. Likewise, Cyrano and Christian (the latter comes to it first) realize that romance had been possible for them—and they share a magnetic kiss that is self-contained rather than resonant in the following consequences.*

*The Schmidt staging, indeliberately, bubbled a more effective romantic chemistry between Peter Dinklage’s Cyrano and Blake Jenner’s Christian, though they don’t ever entertain romance. While it was for the better Jenner wasn’t cast in Joe Wright’s film, the movie could not the loving bond of the Cyrano achieve-Christian dynamic on stage. When Christian proclaims “I would prefer to be loved for my true self or not at all” before his death, I had this epiphany that the great tragedy (greater than Cyrano’s delayed love for Roxanne) of this version is that Cyrano himself has grown to love Christian for his true self and the two men had none of the cognitive language to admit that.

Flicking on my Roxane-mode writing workshop lens, I would critique Crimp that the text “does feel written by a man” despite its best intentions for his heroine. Certainly, Roxane’s beautifully raw and extended callout is undercut by her indirect apology for not grasping Cyrano’s well-intentions.

The play is one of my most compelling experiences this year, but I also acknowledge it isn’t a radical “Cyrano de Bergerac” as marketed (actual timely and compelling NYC plays this year include “The Chinese Lady” and “English”). Fitting an able-bodied normative definition of handsome and hot and bearing a whiteness flanked by a diverse cast, James McAvoy may sell the internal insecurities gnawing at Cyrano’s core though he shouldn’t be considered a unique casting choice. At one point, Crimp has Cyrano invoke the word “political correctness” but shies away from any specificity nor does the staging interest any implications of a white guy preaching against the idea of ​​the word.

But in spite of my questions, the nature of this play where words reach their limits, and transform seems open to engaged critiques. The lyrical clockwork of words and movement absorbed me into its soul-bearing.

“Cyrano de Bergerac” is playing at the BAM Harvey Theater at Brooklyn on 651 Fulton Street until May 22, 2022.

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