I have been gifted a role that is one of my top three dream characters. This summer for the Classics at Brucemore I will be playing Cyrano. Yup, the dude with the nose.

This is a huge deal for me. Cyrano is one of those general bucket roles, like Hamlet and Stanley Kowalski. Except it’s really the role for those actors who are too homely or morphologically challenged to play Hamlet or Stanley. Perfect.

I’ve been directing and acting in the Classics now for, I think, seventeen years. This will be my first lead. In fact this will only be my third leading role in all my years of serious acting, and I don’t really consider the other two as counting, though they were great experiences.

Cyrano has been called one of the greatest roles ever written, and I tend to agree. He has such a tragic and real human depth to him that he feels real. It’s not difficult to place one’s self in his skin. He is a man who clearly dislikes certain parts of himself, and because of that hesitates to commit to the one he loves because he fears what most of us fear: rejection. And so he pours himself into an almost obsessive passion for swordplay and acts with near disregard for his life. After all, who would suffer if he were to lose it? No one, or so he thinks. And thus his bravado, his easy wit, his panache all become a compensated extension of self-conscious weakness.

Boy-howdy: pretty close to home.

I don’t think that, emotionally or spiritually, I have a long way to go to formulate my version of Cyrano. He reminds me of my middle-school self. His nose was my fat. His bravado was my performing. His Roxanne was a pretty and nice blonde girl named Sheila. Ahh, Sheila, when she moved away it broke my heart. Oh, well.

Anyway, I will periodically update “Nosing Around” with thoughts and issues that I discover while digging into Cyrano. I have three Writers’ Room shows and I am directing RUR for Theatre Cedar Rapids before Cyrano hits, so there are other things cooking.

However, I have decided to begin working the set-piece speeches now. Nothing better than getting to rehearsal having the lines down.

I have also started sword work with my trusty friend and rapier companion Marty, under the tutelage of our fight master Jason Tipsword—I shit you not, that is his given name. And I have taken to purchasing and working our elliptical for two miles or more a day.

The show Cyrano de Bergerac has been my Roxanne for a while. But this one I am preparing myself for and I am not planning on letting it get away.