Cyrano is smart, courageous and noble, a brilliant poet and a skilled swordsman. He is utterly besotted with the beautiful Roxanne.
But oh, that nose!
On Friday, Nov. 2, the Aquila Theatre Company — today’s leading producer of touring classical theater — will return to St. Louis with Cyrano de Bergerac, Edmond Rostand’s funny, poignant and often heart-wrenching tale of unrequited love.
Then, Saturday, Nov. 3, Aquila will retake the stage with Taming of the Shrew, William Shakespeare’s timeless battle of the sexes.
Both performances are presented as part of the Edison Ovations Series.
Cyrano de Bergerac
Written in 1897, Cyrano de Bergerac remains one of theater’s most beloved romantic adventures. The story opens at a play in Paris, where Cyrano banishes an unworthy actor and takes the stage himself, improvising a ballad while dueling a jealous viscount.
But for all his bravery, Cyrano cannot admit his feelings to Roxanne. Instead, learning of her emerging fondness for Christian, Cyrano agrees to help this dull but handsome comrade compose a series of letters. Roxanne quickly falls in love with the author. But will she ever learn his true identity?
Taming of the Shrew
Set in modern dress, Taming of the Shrew centers on Katherina Minola, whose quick temper and acerbic wit have frightened away every potential husband. Yet Katherina’s father, a local lord, has declared that her younger sister, Bianca, cannot be courted until Katherina marries.
In response, two of Bianca’s suitors hire the newcomer Petruchio to seduce and “tame” Katherina. Exchanging wisecracks and double entendres, Petruchio succeeds in dragging Katherina to the altar and then away to his country home. There, the taming process begins in earnest, with both sides unwilling to yield.
Founded in London in 1991, Aquila Theatre is dedicated to bringing the greatest works of classical drama to the greatest audience possible.
Now based in New York City, the troupe is comprised of both British and American players and serves as professional company in residence at the Center for Ancient Studies at New York University. In addition to an annual New York season, Aquila performs at international festivals and approximately 70 American towns each year.
The New York Times calls Aquila Theatre “a classically trained, modernly hip troupe,” adding that few “can mount productions with the iconoclastic and high-voltage energy of the Aquila Theatre Company and still win praise from critics and scholars alike.”
The New Yorker adds that “Aquila’s productions are beautifully spoken, dramatically revealing and crystalline in effect.”
Tickets and sponsors
Cyrano de Bergerac takes place at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2. Taming of the Shrew takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3. Tickets are $36, or $32 seniors, $28 for Washington University faculty and staff and $20 for students and children.
In addition, Timothy Moore, PhD, the John and Penelope Biggs Distinguished Professor of Classics in Arts & Sciences, will lead “Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives: Poetry-Drama-Dialogue” at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3. The free event will include staged readings by several Aquila actors, as well as an introduction and a post-show discussion. It takes place in WUSTL’s 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Ave.
Tickets are available at the Edison Box Office and through all MetroTix outlets. Edison Theatre is located in the Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.
Edison programs are made possible with support from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; the Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis; and private contributors. “Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives” is made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.