Cyrano de Bergerac


157 pages
ISBN 0-921368-43-7
DDC 842'.8




Translated by John Murrell
Reviewed by R. Kerry White

R. Kerry White is the director of theatre arts at Laurentian University.


Cyrano de Bergerac is one of the masterpieces of romantic drama. This
translation and adaptation by John Murrell, one of Canada’s most
produced playwrights and an important translator/adaptor, is especially
welcome because, like a dramaturge, Murrell has suggested cuts to the
rather long and wordy text, making this great and entertaining play
accessible to English-language theatre groups.

The play is about a physically disfigured poet and swordsman who is in
love with a woman he dare not approach. Instead, he uses his poetic
gifts to court her through a surrogate. Ironically, the more successful
he is, the more hopeless his chances become. Cyrano is a metaphor for
the alienated or marginalized romantic artist whose works are useful or
amusing to society, but whose person is rejected. The hero’s strategy
of indirect courtship is underscored by the setting and circumstances of
the first act, which takes place in a theatre, among both audience
members and theatre people. In other words, the themes of role-playing
and artistic allusion become a context for Cyrano’s search for “a
place” while rejecting it as false and corrupt.


Rostand, Edmond., “Cyrano de Bergerac,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,