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“Philosopher . . . physicist . . . poet . . .
swordsman. . . musician . . .sky voyager . . .
great debater. . . lover, too, not for his own good. Here lies Hercules-Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac, who did everything and did nothing.”
- Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac

Panache vs. Charisma
From the New York Times

The Play

Project Gutenberg’s complete text of the play.

An easily modified online etext at Classic Bookshelf.

eNotes has a downloadable enhanced .pdf file version.

Theater Resources

Digital Dramaturgy at Baltimore Center Stage is an excellent website with background materials on the character and times of the play. Sections include

PBS Great Performances includes a video of Act III, scene vi.

Trinity Rep in Rhode Island has provided a 50+ page guide with extensive activities covering background, costuming and staging.

Utah Shakespeare Festival has an interesting online guide that includes three critical articles on Optimistic Idealism, Romantic Melodrama, and Heroic Comedy or Romantic Tragedy.

Assignments & Handouts

Design a poster for the play Cyrano de Bergerac, using any scene or character monologue as the basis for your idea. To begin, look over each of the posters shown below. What do you learn about each show from the poster? Which posters are you most interested in? Why? Which poster makes you want to come see the show? What is the function of the poster in the artistic process? Create a poster you feel best represents the play, using any variety of creative materials. Include the following criteria on the poster:

  • Name of Play: Cyrano de Bergerac
  • Playwright's Name: Edmond Rostand
  • Director's Name: Pick a director who suits style of your poster, living or dead
  • Actors: Cast the main parts
  • Website: Make up a creative choice

Select a piece of artwork inspired by the play and write a critical paragraph analyzing it. Your topic sentence should state clearly the effect of the artwork. The details you use in your paragraph should explain how that effect is created. Be sure to include title and artist (if known).

Wouldn’t Cyrano make a wonderful spokesman? With such style, he could lend his panache to certain products. Design a print advertisement for an appropriate product. Be sure to include some visual or verbal reference to the play.

Four Translations - Activity that asks students to analyze and compare four different translations of the same scene. Great way to focus on diction and syntax.

Act by Act: Study Questions and Writing Assignments. Also available as a Word document and as a PDF file.

Plot Diagram in French -- interesting way to review and translate.

Essay Assignments for the Play -- Collected from several sources.

Projects for the Play -- Eight creative culminating group projects.

Best worksheets from Teacher Materials

Video Clips

Baylor University has a short Commercial for their University Theater Production that is a good introduction to the play.

The trailer for the 1950 Jose Ferrer movie gives a good overview of the story.

New York Metropolitan Opera trailer sets the mood for the play, includes excellent subtitles. Ah, Placido Domingo.

Siskel & Ebert review the 1987 Depardieu film and focus on the language.

This clip is from Derek Jacobi's 1985 Royal Shakespeare Society performance, is the “Ah” Scene -- perfect for discussions of tone. I also show the same scene from other versions and have students compare and contrast.

 

Just for Fun

Words Can't Express
Can’t write your own love letters? Let Cyrano serve you.Cyrano Server

The Cyrano Server, now defunct, was an online service that would write both love and break-up letters for you.The site used a MadLibs approach to construction.

e-Cyrano

Teacher Materials

Cyrano de Bergerac: Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder Lesson Plans for Cyrano approach the play through a discussion of what beauty is for men and for women. Jeana Rock, the teacher who developed the unit, has some great ideas for accessing and using music videos, song lyrics, film adaptations, MySpace accounts as a way of engaging students. Uses Brad Paisley’s “Online” music video to introduce unit, available on MTV or VH1.

Three full units with 10 lessons and relevant handouts, developed for seventh grade but useful for older students as well --

Cummings Study Guide is extensive, especially good on tracing various allusions in the play.

Enriched Classics has an excellent group research project associated with the play.

Model Reviews -- New Yorker of Broadway performance and Sydney Morning Herald of Biography.

The Glencoe Literature Library 30-page guide includes activities and worksheets for every act, with a strong focus on active reading. Excellent.

The Shmoop Guide for the play is insightful and seductive. It could easily serve as an introduction to the reading. Always interesting is the Shmoop “ Why Should I Care?” answer -- not usually the expected answer. Also covers symbolism, tone, writing style, title, genre, and plot analysis (classic Freytag’s Pyramid and Booker's Seven Basic Archetypal Plots). The Best of the Web Resources page links to videos and art files.

Online “cheat sheet” guides --

Cyrano & Roxanne

Cyrano & Roxanne --Viewing guide and essay assignment comparing and contrasting Cyrano de Bergerac and Roxanne.

The famous Nose Speech from Roxanne. Video clip of the “Twenty Something Betters” (actually 25). Both are a little racey, maybe PG-13ish.

Cyrano Paraphrase - vocabulary activity based on sentences from reviews of Roxanne.

Viewing Guide for Cyrano -- Worksheet to take comparison/contrast notes and culminating essay activity.

Trailer for the Movie -- overview could almost serve as a review of Cyrano, as well as an introduction to Roxanne.

Essay Test on Both

Not as clever as Roxanne, but still derived from Cyrano de Bergerac, The Truth about Cats and Dogs demonstrates the similarity in its trailer.

 

 

 


Updated 12 June 2016

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