Indiana Repertory Theatre’s Cyrano brings beauty, love and panache to stage
The enduring, classic tale shines bright in this intimate adaptation
Indianapolis, Ind.—The Indiana Repertory Theatre continues its 2020-2021 virtual season with the epic, intimate romance Cyrano, streaming April 15 – May 9, 2021. IRT’s Margot Lacy Eccles Artistic Director Janet Allen will direct the production, which is based on the play by Edmund Rostand and adapted for the stage by Jo Roets. Cyrano combines the most dashing of heroes, the wittiest humor, passionate romance, heartbreak, and tragedy in a tale that explores the enchantment, intrigue, and sacrifice of love.
For more than 100 years, the story of Cyrano de Bergerac, elevated by French Romantic writer Edmond Rostand, has fascinated playgoers and artists alike resulting in musicals, animations, movies, and more adaptations. Rostand’s original play calls for a cast of more than 50 actors; the IRT is producing Roets’ adaptation focused on a cast of three, allowing the classic story to be distilled down to its essence and the characters to become iconic and larger than life.
“Classic stories are classic for a reason: they express something so universal and so timeless that they can bounce between generations and eras and cultures and remain deeply affecting, even primal. No IRT season would be complete without one of them, and this COVID season is no exception,” Allen said. “Theatre is one of the great containers and uplifters of the classic story because it connects living people in storytelling transmission, in a time-honored ceremony of community making.”
Starring in this theatrical gem are Ryan Artzberger, one of Indy’s local actor titans, playing the title role of Cyrano, Jeb Burris as Christian et al. and the production’s fight choreographer, and Melisa Pereyra as Roxane et al. Jeb Burris and Melisa Pereyra, a real-life married couple, have both been in IRT productions before; Jeb in Three Musketeers and The Originalist and Melisa in Boeing Boeing. The trio works to bring this story of love and love lost into our lives, as it shows the power of language, feelings, and connection.
“Words matter. In Cyrano’s case, his words both hide and illuminate his darkest fear: that he is unlovable because of his over-large nose. He struggles, a man of such prodigious intellect and heart, to realize his own value,” Allen said. “This essential struggle binds much of humanity together: are we truly contained only by our outward appearances, or by the depth of our humanity, intellect, and soul?”
Virtual tickets for Cyrano are now available for $30 and streaming begins April 15. To learn more about the entire season and purchase virtual tickets, please visit irtlive.com.
WHERE: Streaming online via irtlive.com.
RUN DATES: Streaming April 15 – May 9, 2021. Cyrano is approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes, with no intermission. Tickets and information at irtlive.com.
TICKETS: Virtual tickets start at $30. Click to buy.
CAST & CREATIVE TEAM:
RYAN ARTZBERGER | Cyrano
JEB BURRIS | Christian et al.
MELISA PEREYRA | Roxane et al.
JANET ALLEN | Director
RUSSELL METHENY | Scenic Design
LINDA PISANO | Costume Design
XAVIER PIERCE | Lighting Design
MICHAEL KECK | Composer
RICHARD J ROBERTS | Dramaturg
NATHAN GARRISON | Production Coordinator
REBECCA ROEBER | Production Assistant
For more information contact Kerry Barmann, Marketing Communications Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317.916.4824.
ABOUT THE IRT
Founded in 1971, the Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT) is the largest professional not-for-profit theatre in the state and one of the leading regional theatres in the country. The mission of the Indiana Repertory Theatre is to produce top-quality, professional theatre and related activities, providing experiences that will engage, surprise, challenge, and entertain people throughout their lifetimes, helping us build a vital and vibrant community.
HOW WILL WE REBUILD EMPATHY?
by Janet Allen, Margot Lacy Eccles Artistic Director
Our decision to produce T.J. Young’s intense family drama NO. 6 is a decision to use our art to reflect deeply on the human impact of racial injustice in our country. The circumstances of the play are based on an actual event—a series of riots that took place in Cincinnati in 2001 as a result of a White police officer killing an unarmed Black youth—but the tragedy is that the events of this play could have occurred surrounding any number of similar events across the country over the past 20 years. Art can help us see under the surface of the news headlines: past the invective and adjectives, past the sensational pictures and footage, past the bylines and statistics, and into the hearts of people who must live through these huge traumas. While the Anderson family themselves do not suffer the loss of a loved one in this horrific event, the losses of security they sustain, the weight of past loss, and the potent fear of future loss hangs spectre-like around every interaction they have in the play. We know that the end of these riots that threaten them do not mean the end of fear, and that this kind of daily fear is not equally felt or acknowledged in this country.
Art can help us open our hearts and minds in ways that news events cannot. News is presented so sensationally these days that too often our reaction is to draw back from the reality, or lean into the adrenaline rush of mere sensation. Neither reaction helps elicit deep empathy. Given the 24-hour nature of news, we are constantly being buffeted by horror, to the extent that it breeds the opposite of its intended effect: it numbs the soul, frightens the heart, and closes down the mind. We have talked a great deal in this country about a loss of empathy, a malaise that many feel powerless to overcome. Many art forms, but theatre in particular, can stand in this breach and invite us in. Theatre elicits our empathy in layer upon layer of character investigation, without creating villains and heroes, but characters that can be both heroic and self-absorbed, generous and selfish, inspired and frightened, just as in life. At its best, theatre can ask us not to judge—because judging heals nothing—but to acknowledge our cultural inequities and seek to be healers and allies.
We are grateful, particularly in COVID times, to have assembled a team of brave and committed artists to work on this piece: they are both Black and White, and their conversations have been deep, and sometimes painful, as they seek to illuminate the heart of this play in all its intersectionalities and complexities. Leading this team is director Dwandra Lampkin, who IRT audiences have seen deliver luminous acting work in Doubt and To Kill a Mockingbird, who now brings her leadership skills into the rehearsal room to guide this production. A play like this, at a time like this, requires that artists bring their deepest moral and ethical values into their work, and we are blessed to have Dwandra at the front of this conversation, offering up revelations from her own life as a Black woman in our world. The design team, some working virtually, some live, and the actors, from both Indianapolis and New York, are working diligently to bring authentic life and fullness to this intense piece of theatre art, as they explore empathy in many forms.
COVID has only deepened our population’s empathy deficit. Encouraged to isolate from and fear others, we find it more challenging to reach across differences of all kinds and walk in someone else’s shoes. How will we rebuild empathy as a culture? NO. 6 poses us many questions about empathy and forgiveness—even questioning whether forgiveness is possible when the harm to Black families is continuous. Among the deep takeaways of this play is how little has changed since the events of 2001 that this play chronicles. What has changed—we hope—is the understanding that much must be examined and dismantled for these acts of violence to stop. Theatre can give us new eyes to see.
The IRT produces top-quality, professional theatre that engages, surprises, challenges and entertains people throughout their lifetimes, helping to build a vital and vibrant community.
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