2016-2017 Season,  Cyrano

The Real Cyrano: The Man Behind the Legend

Robert Fuller, Dramaturg

cOne of the most surprising things I discovered while researching this play is that Cyrano, and most of the people featured in the original play, were based off of real people living during the 16th century. This offered new depth to these characters and a new appreciation for the play by Edmond Rostand.

Hector Savinien de Cyrano was born on March 6, 1619, in Paris France. He grew up with his cousin, Madeleine Robineau, who would inspire Roxanne, the woman Cyrano is in love with in the play. At the age of six, he would meet his lifelong friend, Henry Le Bret. These two would have a large impact on him throughout his life.

As an adult, Cyrano would join the French Guards, and serve along side Anton de Gramont, the Count of Guiche, who was known for being married to the niece of Cardinal Richileu, a famous advisor to the King of France. He would also serve with a young soldier named Christophe De Neuvillette, who was portrayed as an important figure in Rostand’s play.

During his time in the French Guards, Cyrano would gain a reputation as a great sword fighter. After being wounded twice in battle, Cyrano retired from the Guards, and devoted his life to writing. His comedic plays, newspaper writings, and philosophical works would inspire many famous playwrights and philosophers, such as Moliere and Voltaire. He passed away on July 28, 1655. Years later, his biography was published by Le Bret, and eventually read by Edmond Rostand, who chose to immortalize him in his Comedy in Five Acts, Cyrano De Bergerac.

When you see the play, watch for the similarities and the differences between the characters on stage and the people who inspired them. If you were writing a play, who would inspire your characters?

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