Cyrano de Bergerac has everything going for him - except his nose, a banana-sized proboscis he thinks would prevent anyone from falling in love with him - although he's a nobleman, a distinguished soldier, a poet and a musician who is in love with his cousin Roxane.
Edmund Rostand's play, in a "much edited, adapted version," titled simply "Cyrano" and based on a real person, tells the story of how Cyrano, resigned to his fate, helps his friend Christian woo Roxane.
The convoluted story opens Thursday, March 23, at Sumter Little Theatre.
Director Eric Bultman said the two-act play, although shortened somewhat in this adaptation by Tonya Hays, "is not missing any of the plot. It's one young people will understand and adults will enjoy."
He added that, although "Cyrano" is classified as a comedy, "it's a love story, kind of tragic. ... It's got a lot of music in it. The actors have even had to learn 'La Marseillaise' (French national anthem)."
"Cyrano" also has sword fighting and a narrator, Katherine Grace Singleton. Andrew Schwartz, who's on the theater faculty at Coker College, has taught Cyrano and Christian, played by Tristan Pack and Logan Martin, to fight with swords and has choreographed the sword-fighting scene.
Skylar Head plays Roxane. All three actors have a great deal of experience, and each has researched his or her character in preparation for the show.
Skylar is excited to be playing a more exciting character, after having portrayed Beauty in "Beauty and the Beast" and other more reserved characters.
"In the beginning, Roxane is rather shallow, loving Christian for his 'comeliness,'" she said, "but later, it's because of how she's wooed," not knowing that Cyrano is supplying Christian's poetic dialogue.
Like Skylar, Logan finds his character, Christian, "one of the most challenging I've done, and I get to wear a musketeer costume."
Tristan said he finds the play has "language very reminiscent of Shakespeare, except it doesn't have the same rhythm. There are different thought and speech patterns, especially since they're French. It's easier to understand to the common ear.
"The show focuses on its own language - it's a big element in the play."
The three young actors had high praise for Sylvia Pickell's costumes and Sumer Jarvis' skill with the prosthetics, mainly Cyrano's nose, which Tristan said is a "catalyst for the plot."
Cast members include Logan Smith, Colby Rearden, Christian Clayborne, Kylie Timmons, Justin Floyd, CJ Waters, Lauren Graves, Will Lane, Lauren Carneal, Caroline Getz, Maggie Morse, Madison Niles, Kenya Flippin and Madison Niles.
Michael Bacon is sound technician, David Shoemaker is light designer, Paul Brown is music director. Michael Duffy is transforming the set into scenes in 17th century France.
SLT Youth Theatre presents "Cyrano" March 23 to 26 and March 30 to April 2. Shows start at 7:30 p.m., except for 3 p.m. Sunday matinees. Tickets are $15 for students, seniors and military, and $20 for adults. "Cyrano" is suitable for all audiences. For more information or tickets, visit the website www.sumterlittletheatre.com or call (803) 775-2150.