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A Man Who Is Perfect In All Ways But One

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

The story of Cyrano de Bergerac, a man who is perfect in all ways but one, is based only loosely on the life of an actual man. The real Cyrano was a playwright and an expert swordsman, he did have a cousin, and she did marry a baron. His nose was largish.

But the great tragic romance we have come to associate with his name was a complete fiction. The French playwright Edmond Rostand, working entirely in rhymed-couplet verse, mixed fact and fiction and in so doing, he created a legend. Rostand gave his Cyrano a sharp wit, a sharp sword and a larger-than-life personality to match his larger-than life nose, then proceeded to write a tragedy of such doomed-romantic-and-comic proportions that ,since it was created in 1872, it has been translated, adapted and updated again and again for film, radio, television, opera, ballet, print and music.

The tragedy of the fictional Cyrano unfolds as we witness the vulnerability of a man who is an expert at defending himself both physically and intellectually, and to whom honor and loyalty and purity of love are everything.

If beautiful language is music to your ears, you can catch a performance of the Anthony Burgess translation of Cyrano de Bergerac on November 16th and 17th at the Scottish Rite Center.