My theatre company Cartoon de Salvo are joining forces with R.Wan, influential forerunner of France’s hip-hop musette scene, to create their own contemporary and idiosyncratic adaptation of Rostand’s great love story Cyrano de Bergerac.
Salvo founders Alex Murdoch and Brian Logan have been huge fans of R.Wan’s band Java for many years and last autumn we looked at the beginnings of collaboration with him and brilliant designer Michael Vale. Primarily a rapper, R.Wan’s material is lyrically driven and of course we saw the connection with the Salvo’s roots in impro. The Salvo’s are always on the look out for the next epic challenge and we’re re-writing the Rostand text from a literal translation and working with R.Wan to create a bilingual text. We feel the universal story lends us the opportunity to perform passages in any language and be understood regardless of the mother tongue of the audience.
Many devisors first instinct on approaching an epic play is to edit and package up a bite-size adaptation – but we feel the real challenge here is to embrace the whole story. A braver undertaking given that we are three performers and the first scene involves about 30 characters…
R.Wan told us his definition of ‘panache’ (Rostand’s play introduced the term to the English language) was ‘fighting spirit’. We realised that the Salvo’s theatre and R.Wan’ music has a lot in common with Cyrano himself – spirited, foolish, reckless, messy and spontaneous.
Our version of Cyrano directly splices this classic text with the story of the company itself – as we go on a quest to rediscover our fighting spirit. It’s about our relationship to our lives both in the world and as performers, and the roles we play. It’s about independence and following your heart.
On the directing page you can see a teaser documentary trailer we made about the beginnings of the project.