Who's Who?

We're continuing our Crash Course in Cyrano de Bergerac this week (click here to see last week's installment) with a breakdown of the basic characters in our adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s classic play. 

Cyrano is set in Paris in the 1600's in the middle of the Thirty Years' War. Rostand's original script features over 20 different roles of varying sizes to bring to life his vision of Paris in the 1600's. A faithful stage version could take up to 3 hours to perform! In the interest of time and clarity, A.B.L.E.'s adaptation will focus on the central love triangle between Cyrano, Christian, and Roxanne.  Our main characters can be divided into two categories: Townsfolk and Soldiers


  • Roxanne - Intelligent, kind, and sophisticated wealthy young woman
  • Duenna - Roxane’s chaperone, an older and protective friend
  • Ragueneau - A poetry-loving baker, a natural comedian and friendly companion
  • Ligniere - Popular musician and man about town. He wrote a song that made him an enemy of De Guiche
  • Montfleury - Popular leading actor of the day. His flirting and showboating has made him an enemy of Cyrano


  • Cyrano - Larger-than-life Gascon who commands both sword and pen. He has a quick wit, and is a courageous soldier. But this is often overshadowed by his very large nose.
  • Christian - New member of The Guards, brave in combat, shy with the ladies
  • De Guiche - A wealthy nobleman seeking Roxanne’s hand. He is jealous an quick to anger
  • Le Bret - Cyrano’s best friend and leader of the Gascons. He is brave and peaceful

Supported by A.B.L.E. teaching artists and facilitators, the ensemble will spend the first several weeks of the semester immersing themselves in the world of the story and getting to know these characters. We hang posters around the room with icons and images for each character to help remind everyone of their personality traits (see gallery above). Each character also has a signature costume piece to help us keep track of who is who.  We play a range of games and activities to help embody these different personalities and see how they interact with each other.

Midway through the semester, actors will have the opportunity to audition for their favorite roles, letting the teaching staff know who they most connect with and which moments in the play they would like to perform. In the final production, actors will share parts, with each playing 2 characters in this story about love and war, courage and heartbreak. Our adaptation has scenes for 11 different Cyranos, 8 Roxannes, 6 Christians, 3 Le Brets and more!

Save the date to join us for this special production Thursday May 17th at 7pm at The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier! Tickets will go on sale in March!