MONMOUTH — Theater at Monmouth has launched its 2016 season with a swashbuckling story of true love misunderstood.

A delightful production of “Cyrano” on June 25 introduced three fine actors to the Cumston Hall stage.

This summer’s Vive La France theme brings previews and openings on Thursday and Friday nights through July, with shows playing in repertory throughout the summer.

“Cyrano” is the story of a master swordsman and poet in France nearly 400 years ago. He’s cursed with an extra-large nose that comes between Cyrano and the lovely Rozanne, who can’t see real love beyond a superficial handsomeness in Cyrano’s mundane friend, Christian.

The tale “immediately pierces the heart with its simplicity,” said Director Tess Van Horn in her program notes.

A nearly bare stage underscores Cyrano’s poetic elegance as he lends his words to Christian, who uses them to woo Roxanne.

Christopher Holt portrays a dashing Cyrano. He is a faultless romantic hero, except for the nose. He makes fun of it, but he’ll tolerate no jokes from anyone else, at their mortal peril.

Tim Kopacz plays Christian as well as Cyrano’s friend, LeBret, and a deceitful nobleman, DeGuiche. The multiple roles played by Kopacz move the story seamlessly, and Kopacz also makes appearances for a few other supporting roles.

Roxanne, a beautiful and intellectual heiress, who’s blind to Cyrano’s secret longing, is played by Marjolaine Whittlesley. She can’t see beyond Christian’s handsomeness, thanks to the love notes written by Cyrano for his friend’s use in courting Roxanne.

Holt and Kopacz appear in their first seasons at Theater at Monmouth. Whittlesley was in last season’s ShakesME tour with the theater.

A nighttime balcony scene with Cyrano coaching Christian through an inept romantic encounter is a highlight of the show. The success of the scene owes a lot to the effective lighting design of Jim Alexander.

There’s some fast and furious swordplay between Cyrano and DeGuiche near the beginning when Cyrano asserts his skill with the blade over a clumsy foe, as he composes a poem throughout the fight.

Leighton Samuels is in his third season with the theater and plays the role of fight director for that entertaining episode. His excellent work will be featured a number of times in the theater’s upcoming productions.

Costume designer Michelle Handley has dressed the cast in authentic style of the 17th century setting.

Meg Anderson’s set is basically three small trees on stage and the right-side box seat of the Cumston Hall stage for a balcony. That all that’s needed for the classic story of missed love.

Michelle Begley and Rew Tippen round out the technical crew as stage manager and sound designer.

This is a new adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 masterpiece by Jo Roets who has updated the language for a young modern audience. It’s done without intermission.

Presentations of “Cyrano” are at 7:30 p.m. July 9 with post-show talk-back; on July 13 and Aug. 4, 11 and 19; and at 1 p.m. July 24 and 30.

For tickets, contact the the box office at 207-933-9999 or visit www.theateratmonmouth.org.

A children’s production of “Puss in Boots” is presented n Saturdays in July and other dates in August.

Other theater shows will be Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” and “Henry V,” Beaumarchais’ “The Barber of Seville,” and Corneille’s “The Illusion.” The traditional mid-September comedy is “Boeing, Boeing.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.