Ah, but the poetry was still to come. With the junior college's school year having only a week to go, the Theatre Art Department saved its best show for last. All the elements I mentioned — sets, costumes, acting — were outstanding, and the play they chose is one of the funniest, most tragic and most romantic ever written for the world stage. If it's done right, that is.
For their production of Cyrano de Bergerac, they brought in a ringer. The demanding title role was played not by a student but by Tony Amendola, whom you might know as Bra'tac on Stargate SG-1. But Cyrano is the role he was meant to play, if tonight's performance is any indication.
It's a majestic, lyrical play, filled with crashing swords and tender moments. The language is cleverly devised to illuminate the characters, and most of the words belong to Cyrano. The entire play depends on the actor playing that part, who has to overcome the indignity of wearing a prosthetic nose to reveal the nobility of the man whose words are all he has to express what's in his heart.
It was a wonderful way to end the junior college theater season. On a Thursday night, a week before classes ended, it brought a large crowd of patrons young and old to the Burbank Auditorium. We were enthusiastic throughout, even though there were some inappropriate giggles.
Or maybe they weren't inappropriate. Just because I thought a scene was full of pathos doesn't mean that's how everyone had to see it. It takes a dedicated and talented company to penetrate the farce and the sarcasm and expose the soul of a man who is in love but doesn't believe he can be loved in return. Whatever anyone else saw on that stage tonight, that's what I saw.