This year's East Campus Grade 9 and 10 Drama production of Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac was performed 20-22 January. Grade 10 student, Matt Lulu, who portrayed Cyrano, reflects on the process he went through as an actor to bring this iconic character to life.
Taking part in the ever compelling and engrossing play of Edmond Rostand's renowned Cyrano de Bergerac, especially as the enthralling character of Cyrano himself, was an experience which I truly came to treasure through the course of this production. The script itself is so beautifully crafted, consisting of all that an audience member of any age could wish for. From slapstick comedy, to enthralling action sequences, to eventual poignant tragedy, the raw entertainment of this play is undeniable.
Playing Cyrano, I felt a genuine duty, as I am sure every other cast member shared, in truly absorbing the audience in this story. In juxtaposition to the light hearted and whimsical setting of the story, its characters are so very human and overflowing with authenticity. They undoubtedly have their comedic moments, yet those moments of heartbreak, of grief, of passion are just as evident. As an actor, I found it of great significance to make the audience aware of this, and therefore capture them in the thoroughly captivating plot, rather than understanding it as something melodramatic and unrealistic. Although the wacky costumes and set are not so evident in our everyday lives, the themes and emotions of this story are so relevant and familiar to so many people.
The character of Cyrano de Bergerac is one that I have come to truly adore. Rostand has created a character who is so able to mask anguish and distress when it comes to his hidden love for Roxanne, with pure wit, sharpness and flair. He is a master swordsman, a poet, a man of so many things, yet his love and tenderness is what ultimately proves to shine through.
The rehearsal process did not prove to just consist of the after school rehearsals, as I found myself spending more time as Cyrano than as myself. From repeating lines in different tones to a mirror, to unconsciously stating lines in everyday conversation, I grew attached to this character. I think that for so many actors, who hold a responsibility to bring a character to stage, this attachment is unavoidable. Perhaps it is because we are envious that they speak with such inventiveness, and after a taste of that, we yearn to have that for ourselves. Perhaps when we are captured in the moments of the characters, we become touched and scarred by their emotions. Through the role of Cyrano, I unexpectedly came to learn that true acting is not acting at all, it is being, which only developed my love for theatre even further.