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L.A. Family Reviews
Kid Vids, by Marupong Chuludul
Another gem from Globalstage is a "child friendly" interpretation of the classic French Edmond Rostand play Cyrano De Bergerac, first performed in 1897. This masterful production takes place in Antwerp, Belgium. With text by Jo Roets, this performance differs from the others in that we see an almost bare set with the backstage fully exposed and the three principals dressed in modern clothing, as if in rehearsal. The three actors also provide their own sound effects. A smart approach for young kids, who can be curious to see how a live performance works behind the scenes.
The story focuses on our tragic hero, who is madly in love with the beautiful Roxanne. But he is too shy and deems himself too ugly (he has a big nose) for her. Cyrano is a highly accomplished man but his insecurities leave him emotionally weak. He is also a man of great words but cannot convey them to any woman. Enter Christian, a good friend to Cyrano and very good looking. Together, they help each other win over Roxanne.
Most of us know this story. But see this wonderful production with your kids and be ready for some Q&A. Definitely worth the time.
School Library Journal
October 1998. p.71
Cyrano. videocassette. color. approx. 1:40 hrs
Globalstage. 1998. GR 5 Up--
Based on Edmond Rostand's French classic with an original script by Jo Roets, this play is performed by the theatre company Blauw Vier of Antwerp, Belgium. Filmed on location by the BBC, it succeeds not only as entertainment but also as an exploration of basic questions such as "How important is physical appearance?" and "How powerful are words?" The video opens as 11-year old Preston Blakeley and his "aunt," Professor Elizabeth McNamer stroll down the streets of Antwerp on the way to the theater. McNamer tells Preston about the culture and history of Antwerp, the life of Rostand, and the literary significance and themes of Cyrano. Once seated in the Theater, they are treated to a non-traditional performance of the play. Three talented actors-- two male and one female-- dressed in contemporary costumes and without make-up appear on a stage lighted by hanging fixtures and filled with what appears to be randomly placed junk. These objects turn out to be the sound effects devices which are operated by whichever actor is not involved in the action. The simulated sounds of the sword fights, battle noises, bird calls and the approach and departure of horses and people are reminiscent of an old-time radio program. Even though the audience is aware of the use of sound devices, the effect is no less dramatic. A beautiful and effective musical background is added occasionally. Voice disguises and changes in posture and demeanor allow the three actors to cover all the roles. As the play ends, the audience is shown applauding as the actors take their bows. Once outside the Theater, Preston and his "aunt" continue their tour of Antwerp as they discuss the themes of the play. After the credits have rolled, an unexpected afterward shows them back inside the theater as an actor demonstrates the workings of the sound effects devices. In addition to the video's value as quality family entertainment, it can be useful for acting classes of all ages as it demonstrates that good theater can be created out of virtually nothing when the powers of the imagination are unleashed.--Jerry Beth Shannon, Ropes I.S.D., Ropesville, TX
October 1998. p.26
Cyrano. Globalstage. 1998. 101 min.
(pp). (1-892045-02-8). 842'.8 Rostand, Edmond.
Cyrano de Bergerac. English-Adaptations Ages 9-adult.
Filmed on location in Antwerp, Belgium, the city's theater troupe, Blauw Vier, mounts an interesting, modernized adaptation of the classic Edmond Rostand drama. Good acting by a young cast, along with plentiful close-ups, captivating music, and imaginative staging, make for an accessible presentation aimed at kids but with appeal for teens and adults, too. Before the curtain, hosts Professor Elizabeth McNamer and her young charge, Preston Blakeley, stroll the picturesque city, discussing the historical and literary importance of the play, and afterwards introduce a background segment on the production's vivid sound effects. This title in the BBC's Globalstage 1998 Children's Theatre Series is a natural for literature and language classes. -Jeff Dick
Dallas Morning News
September 14, 1998.
KIDS' VIDEOS by Nancy Churnin
&Another commendable series, Global Stage, is offering a new installment, Blauw Vier's English production of Cyrano, filmed by the BBC in Antwerp, Belgium. Global Stage's mission is to travel the world, filming the best children's theater productions. And it does just that with Cyrano. Don't be deterred by the scholarly introduction. And keep in mind that this is not a flashy production. The sets and costumes are stark and contemporary. Cyrano's nose is long, but not amusingly cartoonish as in Steve Martin's popular Roxanne. Cyrano slowly builds its character study of a man who helps another woo the woman he himself loves, because he is sure he is too ugly to be desirable. And as in the best of theater, the magic of the performances soon takes over and the actors draw you into the urgency of Jo Roets' sensitive script. Global Stage [sic] is the next best thing to being there.
Nancy Churnin is a Dallas-area free-lance writer.
(Cyrano $27, Global Stage, 1-888-324-5623 (100 minutes)
Vid Kid Stage and Screen by Trish O'Brien.
Globalstage Productions presents productions from around the world, each filmed by the BBC and introduced by professor Elizabeth McNamer, who discusses the history of both the play and the location with her nephew, Preston. Although the introductions may be too slow-paced for younger viewers, they are rich with interesting facts. In the case of Cyrano, filmed in Antwerp, Belgium, the introduction to the classic tale of love, misunderstanding and a prominent proboscis is followed by the curious introduction of the three-person troupe who play every role and provide sound effects and more in this stark but riveting performance. Children will need to engage their imaginations as the talented and energetic actors bounce through characters and scenes with little accoutrement. A great video for budding thespians interested in the art of acting. (Globastage, 100 mins., $27. To become a member and receive 6 new videos a year, a subscription price of $135 includes all six, plus $3.95 per video for shipping. 888-324-5623.)
Children's Hour: Videos by Joanne Kaufman.
Cyrano, Family Life Critic's Choice: Ages 11 & up
This cleverly and adroitly stripped down production of Edmond Rostand's classic play from Antwerp theater company Blauw Vier has a cast of three, with each actor taking several roles and providing the witty sound effects. The title character is both a swordsman of matchless skill and a brilliant poet whose words reach their mark as surely as his rapier hits its target. There's just one problem. Cyrano's in love with the beautiful Roxane. No, no, that's not the problem. The problem (and it is a big one) is Cyrano's proboscis. One tip: Fast-forward through the video's opening sequence, which is a pointless, stiff tour through Antwerp with one Professor Elizabeth McNamer, the poorly chosen narrator of the proceedings. (To order, call 888-324-5623.)