By the power vested in him by nothing more than his wildly protruding ego, Cyrano de Bergerac runs a blowhard actor off the stage at rapier point. So begins the Folger Shakespeare Library’s sparkling and soulful new adaptation of the romantic classic, and of all the outlandish scenarios it demands that leading man Eric Hissom imagine, this might be the most farfetched: As Cyrano, the guardsman of uncommon cheek and uncanny beak, a genius almost as fast with a sword as he is with a quip, Hissom is so effortlessly charming and authoritative it seems impossible he could ever find himself staring down a hostile audience.
He’s so good, in fact, you almost can’t believe that this Cyrano’s inconveniently 3D schnoz would much impede him in romance. But of course, the pickle he finds himself in ultimately has nothing to do with the fleshy cucumber sticking out under his eyes. For Cyrano, the rub is his lack of confidence that he’ll persuade his second cousin Roxane to see beyond her—uh, his—nose, an eloquent and enduring metaphor for the self-doubt that can cripple even the most capable among us. Continue reading