Review: “Cyrano: a love letter to a friendship” at FringeNYC 2016

Review: “Cyrano: a love letter to a friendship” at FringeNYC 2016

Joseph Verlezza

  • OnStage New York Columnist

One of the many LGBTQ themed offerings in the N.Y. International Fringe Festival is “Cyrano: a love letter to a friendship” penned by Sean Peter Drohan who has attempted to create a play that slightly parallels the infamous Rostand drama but with a modern day gay twist. In this adaption, Cyrano, played with a nerdy self-pity in flawed physical shape, (according to the character’s gay male standards), by Mr. Drohan, is in love with his hunky unemployed dimwit roommate Christian, infused with simplistic charm by Adam Roberts, who is in love with the gym bod Adonis, Rock, portrayed with self- centered intellectual bravura by Judah Frank.  This establishes the love triangle, in which Cyrano helps Christian answer texts from Rock about the characters and plot of Candide. This is where the similarities to the classic begin and end.

The characters fall prey to stereotypes and clichés of gay culture which do not provide much depth or interest. Cyrano is not only in love with Christian but has had sex with Rock and a myriad of other partners found on Gay websites, whose messages are viewed in video projections. Rock finds both of them inferior and ends up abandoning any romantic or sexual interest. The outcome reverts back to Cyrano and Christian standing by each other, being friends once again.

Directed and choreographed by Eamon Foley parts of this production have the distinct feel of a music video, with remarkable choreography and stunning graphic scenic projections by Jason Lee Courson, with both contributing to a polished, refined look not often found at a festival. The problem is that it is difficult to determine where this fits into the plot or story and why it is even necessary other than being entertaining. The script is a bit scattered and loses focus with vapid dialogue.

The playwright and director allocate almost two entire pages in the program to explain their intentions and reasoning, which indicates that the production itself does not provide clarity for the audience. Mr. Drohan has a brilliant idea, to write a gay play about friendship. It would be unique to see a story with positive role models, addressing conflicts, struggles, insecurities and the pitfalls of navigating gay lifestyle in a big city, but unfortunately this production falls short and misses the mark.
 
CYRANO: A LOVE LETTER TO A FRIENDSHIP

“Cyrano: a love letter to a friendship” is presented by The New York International Fringe Festival and Grind Arts Company at The SoHo Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street (between 6th Avenue and Varick Street). 

The cast of “Cyrano: a love letter to a friendship” features Sean Peter Drohan, Judah Frank, and Adam Roberts. Production photos by Luke Cheng.

For more information about the show and the cast and creative team, please visit https://cyranotheplay.com/. For more information about the 20th Annual New York Fringe Festival visit www.FringeNYC.org. The running time is 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Pictured: Sean Peter Drohan. Photographer: Luke Cheng.

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