Protruding proboscis

Cyrano de Bergerac

Sniffin’ for chicks.

Sniffin’ for chicks.

Photo by Rudy Meyers

Rated 4.0

No one knows noses like Cyrano knows noses. Cyrano, bearer of literature’s most famous protruding proboscis (outside Pinocchio), knows the gigantic nose on his face will always overshadow the heart on his sleeve. So large-nosed Cyrano finds a unique way to express his love for his cousin Roxane—ventriloquist-style. In concealed whispering, Cyrano supplies the romantic poetry while good-looking solider Christian supplies the handsome face.

Cyrano de Bergerac is the classic tale of unrequited love, one filled with poetic longings, tragic turnabouts, humorous moments and great swashbuckling fight scenes. Written by Edmond Rostand in 1897, Cyrano is loosely based on the story of 17th-century French author Hector Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac who was a poet, and may have had a large nose, but surely not of the grand proportions of our poor snout-challenged hero.

The key to a memorable production of Cyrano lies in the selection of the perfect Cyrano—and Sacramento Theatre Company nails it on the nose with actor John Pribyl. Pribyl, who last graced STC’s stage in 1993, is achingly good, using his rapier wit as a heartbreaking foil for his true romantic longings, all the while quietly revealing the crushing hurt he holds.

Backing Pribyl up are strong performances by Jackie Vanderbeck as the lovely (though a bit dense in the voice-recognition department) Roxane; Brett Williams as the good-natured, good-looking, slow-witted Christian; and Matt K. Miller as the dastardly villain De Guiche. STC also peppers the production with young actors from STC’s Young Professionals Conservatory (known as STC-2), a commendable idea with mixed results.

STC’s production is handsome with a simple yet impressive wood-paneled set, beautiful costumes and the wonderful addition of classical guitarist Moises Rodriguez who melodically plays period music throughout the production.

The first half of Cyrano zings with energy—romantic, funny and dramatic with some great sword work. However, the second half lags a bit, mostly due to the slowdown in the story. But as with all good Cyranos, in the end, the heart wins.