Cyrano | Rehearsal Diary - Week 2

2 Oct 2019

Assistant Director Jess Clough-MacRae talks us through the immensely energetic and flavourful 2nd week of Cyrano rehearsals. 

We march enthusiastically into week 2 – and the latter half of act 2 – with a wealth of energy and ideas. There is more comedic potential to play with, but also more driving plot. Cyrano meets Christian. Plans are hatched. Act 2 is about disappointment, inspiration, collaboration and cake. Each act is set in one fixed location; act 2 is the bakery and the Stage Management team have been making some delicious-looking props.

My background is in movement and I’m delighted to have the chance to work on some very silly physical sequences. The company are all brilliant devisers and need no encouragement to play. We find ourselves delving into the world of clown and physical comedy which seems to compliment the romantic sequences well.

Harking back to act 1, Jonathan the fight director comes in and we begin work on the gargantuan challenge that is the famous duel.

“I will compose and fight at the same time, and make my hit, monsieur, on the last rhyme.”

Cyrano sets himself a ridiculous task of fighting a duel whilst freestyling a poem about it – kind of like an epic rap battle with swords thrown in. Constructing the fight is thrilling. Tristan and Giles clearly enjoy playing with swords and they each have a knack for it. However, learning to fight and memorising a hefty poem at the same time is a lot to process. Luckily, we have Jonathan talking them through every step of the way, Miltos, our experienced fight captain to watch over the action and Guy and Adrian composing an epic score to accompany it.

We have a fight call almost daily to hammer the fight and the text home. Tristan makes impressive progress, with Giles cleverly taking the lead at moments in the fight, while brilliantly making Tristan look good. It’s impressive to watch and very satisfying to see the fight coming along. We find that fight calls are best in the morning. We have a few at the end of the day and I can see Giles and Tristan’s brains melting to mush after a long day of scene work. It’s a funny game, making a play. It demands so much of the actor’s bodies and minds. Some evenings I too go home with a brain like jelly. Our morning calls are easier to manage, before we tie our brains in knots staging this beautiful beast of a show.

Cyrano opens at Bristol Old Vic on 12 Oct and runs til 16 Nov. For more information and to book tickets, click here.