Porter Players prep for ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ production
The Lockport Township High School District 205 Porter Players Drama Club will step back in time to 17th-century France to present four performances of “Cyrano de Bergerac” at Lockport Township High School’s East Campus.
Performance are slated for the weekend of Friday, Nov. 2, through Sunday, Nov. 5, at the auditorium, with show times beginning at 7 p.m. for Thursday through Saturday productions and 2 p.m. for the Sunday matinee. Doors open 30 minutes ahead of time to give attendees a chance to find seats.
The show, originally written by Edmond Rostand, aims to appeal to audiences with its elaborate costumes, intricate set design and impressive acting. In “Cyrano de Bergerac,” the storyline follows a soldier, who cannot admit his love for Roxanne, fearing his appearance will fail him. A love triangle plot with comedy and tragedy ensues when Christian, a handsome but daft cadet who asks Cyrano for help in wooing Roxanne with love notes.
“My colleague—the tech director, Ken Frykholm—brought [the idea] to me [at] the beginning of the semester, and he really wanted to do it,” Laura Gilbert, who directs and produces the production. “I just thought it was very different than other things we had done.”
The Porter Plays typically uses a rotation to help students who attend all four years participate in a spectrum of theatrical productions, ranging in style from comedy, drama, modern and classic. Gilbert said “Cyrano de Bergerac” fits into that equation.
“I thought this would be a chance to showcase the skills of some of these top actors,” she said. “Some of these parts are very difficult. Roxanne, Cyrano, Christian especially are really hard parts to pull off, and these kids, I think, are really doing it. I also hoped this would be something unique that we would all learn from, and I think we did.”
The secret to bringing this production to the stage comes down to preparation, Gilbert said.
“There were a couple of rehearsals in particular where we had to go through the text because the language is not modern,” she said. “I would say [to the students,] ‘Do you know what this means when you say that?’ Sometimes you actually have to translate things. … You have to do some historical research. I asked kids to look things up. I asked Mr. Frykholm for advice. He knows the show very well, and that’s how, I think, it came together—the modern sensibility but staying true to the time period.”
Student began working on this year’s fall production in September, with the technical crew meeting four times per week and cast members rehearsing threes times per week.
LTHS freshman Aidan Callahan—who portrays one of the cadets and serves as an understudy to Christian—said he is excited to have the opportunity to participate.
“I took on a big role as one of the understudies, and I think it’s really cool for my freshman year to get a part like that because it’s a good introduction,” he said. “It makes me really excited for my future productions. I think it’s good to be good at either [role] because during the whole time, we’re meeting a bunch of new people—a bunch of awesome people—that I’ll know for all for the rest of my years in high school. I think either part is just a great experience.”
LTHS senior Patrick Dilger—who serves as one of two student directors and portrays Le Bret, another cadet and Cyrano’s best friend—shared that sentiment.
“I’ve never directed a play; I’ve produced one for a group interpretation, a competition-based [form of] acting,” he said. “I thought it was really fun. I thought, ’Maybe I could student-direct,’ because I saw a lot of seniors do it last year and in my previous years. I thought I really want to do that because it’s really fun, and it’s fun to have some leadership and pass on some leadership to freshman. [LTHS senior] Madelyn Alvarado thought the same things, so we decided to team up.”
Dilger said he is positive the cast and crew are ready to showcase their work to the public.
“I think they will like it a lot,” Callahan said. “I think they’ll like all the characters, all the sets, the lights. It’ll be really good for the show.”
Ticket prices vary, with adults and non-LTHS students admitted for $7, and children ages 12 and younger and senior citizens granted access for $5.
LTHS students who present identification and Gold Card Club members are free.
To order tickets, visit www.lths.org. For questions about tickets, contact the box office at (815) 588-8490. For information regarding Gold Card Club membership, call (815) 588-8121.