With three main stage acts to her name, senior Vanessa Liming finds her fourth and final stage show both exciting and challenging. Not only does she play Roxane, the female lead, she also plays multiple characters that are male.
Starting on Valentine’s Day through Feb. 19, Concordia’s Theatre will be presenting an adaptation of “Cyrano” in the lab theatre. This classic tale, with many movie and other adaptations, revolves around three friends: Cyrano, Roxane and Christian. A French soldier and a poet, Cyrano is in love with Roxane, but his self-esteem issues as a result of his rather large nose cause him to keep his confession to himself. Christian, like Cyrano, is also in love with Roxane. He, on the other hand, is the total opposite of Cyrano, as freshman Brad Hoelscher, who plays him in this adaptation, describes.
“Cyrano is smooth and charismatic, but Christian is the opposite,” he said. “He is good looking but is not good at talking to women. He is afraid to talk to Roxane.”
With this at play, Cyrano uses Christian as a tool to court Roxane. Junior Kellen Summers, who plays the protagonist Cyrano, summarizes this act with a quote from the play.
“I will be your voice,” he said. “You will be my lips.”
David Wintersteen, associate professor of communication studies and theatre arts, directs this play in his 13th year at Concordia. Wintersteen asserts that this production is the first faculty-directed play to be held in the lab theater in about 15 years. He explains that the lab theater provides a thrust configuration instead of the usual proscenium stage that most theaters use.
With the thrust configuration, the audience seating will surround or envelope the main stage instead of facing it. Although it is a different stage from stages his three actors are used to working with, he affirms that it is an “exciting opportunity,” for them.
“The lab is an intimate setting,” Liming agreed.
Wintersteen has been accredited by his actors as being not only a director but a helpful coach, especially in a play where two of the three actors play multiple roles.
“David has been so helpful and instructive. It’s not a show without him,” Summers said about Wintersteen’s role in helping him get into character.
Likewise, Liming, who has to transform genders in the play, agreed with Wintersteen’s helpfulness.
“He gave me a lot of good advice about getting into character,” she said.
Something that the audience should look forward to is the sword fighting in the play. Wintersteen describes it as “a dance routine with steel.” Hoelscher, who is having a “fun experience trying to do choreography and acting at the same time,” reveals that all the actors and Wintersteen came up with the choreography for the sword combat.
This was possible as they have previous experience with stage combat. Summers studied stage combat with his director in high school, and he, along with Wintersteen, taught stage combat at the Trollwood Performing Arts School in Moorhead.
But apart from sword fights, the audience can expect to go home with much more. The play has no big costume and makeup changes, and it also makes use of simple scenes and lighting. Wintersteen trusts that the audience “will be provoked to thought and changed during their time with the play.”
The audience will also be able to draw parallels from the play.
“Everyone will find something in the story that they can relate to,” Liming said.
“Cyrano” runs from Feb. 14 to Sat. Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 19 at 2p.m. All showings will be at the lab theater in Frances Frazier Comstock Theatre. Tickets are available at the box office and are free with a student ID.
Hoelscher sums up why students should see this classic.
“It has got everything,” he said. “If you are looking for drama, there are dramatic scenes. There are fun fight scenes, comedic scenes and even musical scenes.”