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Filament Theatre Ensemble Set to Bring 'Cyrano' to Life

  The ensemble is close to its goal to raise $25,000 to complete its performance space.
Filament Theatre Ensemble Set to Bring 'Cyrano' to Life
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PORTAGE PARK — The Filament Theatre Ensemble will bring one of literature's great love triangles to life as part of its spring season with a family-friendly production of "Cyrano."

Starting Friday and running through May 18, the play — recommended for those 8 and older — is an adaptation by Jo Roet of the famous work of Edmond Rostand directed by Filament Artistic Director Julie Ritchey.

The performance is designed to capture the emotions of loss and love at the heart of the beloved story while moving fast to keep the audience enthralled, said Ritchey, who has wanted to stage a performance of Roet's adaptaion since she was in college.

The play, which features three actors — two of whom play multiple roles — tells the story of swashbuckling poet-soldier Cyrano de Bergerac whose path to true love is blocked by his gargantuan nose. Christian, who can not seem to speak to the beautiful Roxane, uses Cyrano's words to woo her, leaving both men unsure of Roxane's true feelings.

Set in a Paris of windswept balconies and bloody battlefields, Filament's production of "Cyrano" promises "a lightning-paced romance of duels, poetry, panache [and} sacrifice," according to the company.

Starting Filament Acting Company members Andrew Marchetti as Cyrano along with Lindsey Dorcus and Nate Drackett, the play is based on an adaptation of the original story by Edmond Rostand first produced in 1996 in Belgium, and translated into English by Audrey van Tuyckom

In keeping with Filament's folk art tradition, set from "Cyrano" will be used for the group's next production, Ritchey said.

"Cyrano" will be the second mainstage production at Filament's Six Corners home, 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave. The 6-year-old, formerly itinerant ensemble moved to Portage Park last year, and has been working to transform the former furniture warehouse into a performance space.

The group is about $3,300 away from its goal of raising $25,000 to complete the work on its performance space, according to its website. 

Ensemble member Peter Oyloe said the group was thrilled the fundraising campaign has been so successful.

"Things are moving along at a good space," Oyloe said.

Theater lovers who attended Filament's first mainstage production — "The Snow Queen" — will see the progress that has been made in just a few months, Oyloe said.

"We still have a long way to go," Oyloe said. "But we've been able to get a lot of work done."

The ensemble learned during the performances of the Snow Queen that their new home strikes a "fun balance" between allowing the actors enough room to play their scene while allowing the audience to feel like a "fly on the wall" because of the intimacy of the small theater, Ritchey said.

Once complete, the ensemble will be able to transform the performance space from a black box theater to a cabaret to a theater resembling an ancient Greek or Roman stage from one production to the next.

The group hopes the theater will become a community hub in the Six Corners Shopping District, a desire shared by Ald. John Arena (45th), who has been working to turn the area around Milwaukee Avenue, Cicero Avenue and Irving Park Boulevard, which has struggled for decades, into an arts and entertainment district.

Performances of the hour-long show will take place at 8 p.m. Fridays, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays.

Tickets are $15 to $20 and are available at the group's website, filamenttheatre.org. A $5 discount is available from the alderman's office by using the online promo code Arena.

For more information, call 773-270-1660.