Sensational Cyrano and Seniors’ Season Finale


Photo credit Audrey Earnest

The cast and crew of Westminster’s Upper School play, “Cyrano de Bergerac”.

On March 31 and April 1, the 2022-2023 school year’s final play, Cyrano de Bergerac, was performed by the Upper School Players. The story follows Cyrano, the title character, while he works to help his friend Christian win the affections of Roxanne (whom Cyrano himself is secretly in love with) by ghost writing love letters for him. As per tradition, Westminster’s StageCats typically end the year with a classical show —usually a Shakespearean piece— but this year, Cyrano won out in director Kate Morgen’s heart. 

“I was in the ensemble of Cyrano on Broadway, and so it brought back a lot of memories and made me have a really good time watching the story and feeling like the ensemble roles were really important,” said Morgens. “I think [Cyrano] matched a lot of our senior talent […] And there’s always something really fun about sword fights.”

But sword fights aren’t just fun; they’re challenging to coordinate, too. Similar to the fall play, Mrs. Packard, a fight choreographer was brought in, and the tireless work of both students and faculty alike ensured a riveting yet safe performance. 

Another major hurdle this cast and crew had to overcome hid within the hours-long script itself that contained five acts (even after being cut down!). 

“There were a lot [of lines],” said Levi McMillan, the senior playing Cyrano. “And also, you know, being in the lead of a play— it’s very difficult and I had to be on stage for the majority of the play, so I didn’t have a lot of time backstage. In other productions, I had a lot of time to kind of relax and get ready for the next scene, but I had to jump right into it and just kind of stay in it, so that was challenging for me. But it was worth it!”

Even more headaches lurked around the corner, too, with cohesion and balance. 

“[Cyrano] has five acts and each different act is kind of like a completely different play. Like, act 1 is in a theater and we discover Cyrano— it’s just each act felt very different, and I think trying to make it feel like it was one big continuous story with all the different acts was hard,” explained Morgens. “The other fun thing is that there are really funny moments and then there are really raw, touching moments, and there’s a war.”

Additionally, even though tackling the Early Modern English was no easy feat, that wasn’t where the stylistic ramifications of an older production ended.

“You have to make sure the acting is not as contemporary,” said stage manager Laura Gracey. “So, in a lot of shows, different people’s mannerisms and ways of even standing and walking are very different from what they would’ve been at the time that this was written. We tried to capture the way that it was written.”

For example, one of Cyrano’s scenes involves an on-stage “audience” made up of actors watching a fight, but instead of the contemporary reactions of shouts and modernized slang cast members originally gravitated towards, they had to swap in light applause and gasps.

Nevertheless, these challenges only bolstered this play, pushing the actors to a new level. 

“[McMillan’s] ability to be empathetic and have relationships… and you can’t have a show like this if we don’t care about the main character, and [Cyrano] is supposed to be sort of stand-offish, […] and Levi found the perfect balance, and it was an extraordinary performance,” said Morgens.

Digging into the humanity of Cyrano and unraveling the thread of his psychology not only brought an edge of relatability, but it also inspired a uniquely human sense of dimension.

“I think a big theme is the fear of showing someone your deepest self and the fear of rejection, and I do think it’s fascinating to watch the bravura of Cyrano and what he allows the world to see, externally, versus the quiet and beautiful moments,” said Morgens. “I always really enjoyed watching Annalise, who played the best friend, Le Bret, and Levi on stage together because those were the quiet moments where we got to really see the inner truth of what Cyrano was really thinking.” 

“I love the play because it tells a lot about what it is to be human and what it is to love somebody —even if they don’t love you back— and how beautiful of a thing that is,” said McMillan.

For a production plagued by unrequited love between characters, the cast seemed to have found plenty of love for each other. 

“We had a lot of time with the cast—that was always fun. I think the most fun rehearsals, at least for me, were the rehearsals where everybody was a part of it and it wasn’t just like five people called, so that was definitely fun.” said McMillan. “And getting to know the cast members: that was kind of the most fun out of all the productions that I’ve been a part of.”

Gracey affirmed this, saying, “It was such a fun cast with so many incredible, incredible people, and the crew was so fun and so nice, and I really loved talking and getting to know everyone that I didn’t already know.”

Yet all these exciting times made for a bittersweet goodbye to all the current seniors.

“It’s always really hard at the very end of the year because it’s like… the seniors getting to do their last show, and we had an extraordinary group of seniors […] who are doing an extraordinary job setting an amazing example for the younger students about not only work ethic, but also being extraordinary talent and leaders and character work on stage,” said Morgens.

But the looming goodbye couldn’t take away from the memories and lessons learned taken from theater into the real world.

“Everybody has to rely on each other,” concluded McMillan. “I find that that’s the best way to go forward.”

Edited by Evvie Morgan