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Act 2 Notes from Cyrano de Bergerac

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Cyrano de Bergerac Act 2

Ragueneau's pastry shop and rotisserie is abuzz with movement. Chefs and Apprentices scurry around, cooking pastries and birds. Ragueneau sits at a cluttered desk, working on a poem. He directs the chefs on the finer points of cooking while counting off poetic meter on his fingers. An apprentice chef approaches with a gift - a lyre made of pastry. Ragueneau is impressed, and pays the Apprentice for his ingenuity. Ragueneau's wife, Lise enters, quite unimpressed with the Lyre. She hands him some paper bags. Ragueneau is horrified to discover that Lise has crafted the bags out of the poetry that his friends have used to pay for food. Two Youngsters buy three raisin tarts, and Ragueneau can't bear to give away any of the paper bags. Finally he chooses one, and wraps it around the tarts - but the second his wife's back is turned, he offers the Youngsters another three tarts in exchange for the bag.

Topic Tracking: Art and Poetry 4

Cyrano enters the pastry shop and demands to know the time. He discovers that he still has an hour to wait before Roxane arrives. Ragueneau congratulates Cyrano on his spectacular duel the night before. Lise notices that Cyrano's hand is injured. She asks who his 'worthy opponent' was: "Cyrano: I had no worthy opponent. Lise: Lying through you teeth again, as usual! Cyrano: Better than lying through my nose. Now that would be a gargantuan falsehood!" Act 2, pg. 52 Cyrano asks Ragueneau to ensure that when Roxane arrives the two of them can have some time alone. Ragueneau offers to do what he can, but warns Cyrano that some Poets are arriving for breakfast. Cyrano demands a pen. A Musketeer enters, and is treated warmly by Lise. Cyrano debates just writing Roxane a letter so that he can express his feelings without having to talk to her. Try as he might, though, he can't express his feelings on paper. He redoubles his efforts.

Topic Tracking: Art and Poetry 5

The Poets enter, excitedly talking about the remains of a massacre the night before, where a lone man had slain eight assassins in the street. Lise asks the Musketeer about it, and he falsely implies that he was responsible. While Ragueneau regales the poets with his latest work, a poem about making an Almond Tart, Cyrano struggles to put his feelings for Roxane into the letter. After the poem is done, the Poets congratulate Ragueneau and resume eating his free food. Cyrano compliments Ragueneau on supporting the poets: "You're a genuinely good man. There aren't many of you left." Act 2, pg. 56 After Ragueneau goes back to the poets, Cyrano calls Lise over - she has to tear herself away from the Musketeer's embrace. Cyrano tells Lise that he doesn't like the way she's insulting her husband. Lise is offended and retreats, asking her Musketeer to confront Cyrano - the Musketeer defers, a little afraid of Cyrano.

Topic Tracking: Honor 4

Cyrano sees Roxane approaching. He signals to Ragueneau, who moves the Poets into another room. Roxane and her Chaperone enter. Cyrano takes the Chaperone aside and hands her the poetry-covered bags, filled with pastries. He shoos her out the door so he can have some time alone with Roxane. Roxane thanks Cyrano for killing Valvert at the theatre - she dreaded the idea of being forced to marry him, and knew all about De Guiche's plan. They reminisce about her childhood visits to his home in Bergerac, where they would play, a Queen and her Soldier. She notices the cut on his hand, and ask what happened. He changes the subject and asks why she wanted to see him. Roxane announces that she's in love with someone. He's shocked, unable to say anything but 'Aha' as she explains that the person she's in love with doesn't know yet, and that she thinks he's in love with her, but just too shy to say. She goes on to tell Cyrano that the man she loves is just like him, a Royal Guard, in the same regiment - exactly like Cyrano, except for one thing:

"Roxane: His face is like yours, burning with spirit and imagination. He is proud and noble and young and fearless and beautiful-
Cyrano:(losing all his colour.) Beautiful!
Roxane: Yes. What's wrong?
Cyrano: With me? Nothing. It's only... only... (Displaying his bandaged hand, with a little smile.) This fatal wound."
Act 2, pg. 60

Roxane tells Cyrano that they haven't actually met, just seen each other at the theatre. She has found out that his name is Christian and that he has just joined Cyrano's regiment. Cyrano starts to ask how she could be in love with a man that she's barely met, when the Chaperone enters. He shoos her back out, suggesting that she read the poems. Cyrano asks what Roxane will do if, despite his beauty, Christian turns out to be a witless scoundrel. She refuses to even consider the possibility. Cyrano asks why Roxane wanted to see him. She'd heard that Cyrano's regiment is very hard on new recruits if they aren't from Gascony, and she want Cyrano to befriend Christian, and act as his protector. Through clenched teeth, Cyrano promises to do it. She asks Cyrano to make sure that Christian writes to her. She tells Cyrano that she loves him as if he were her brother, then leaves. Cyrano is left staring at the floor, broken. Ragueneau peeks in: "Ragueneau: Is it all over? Cyrano: Just so." Act 2, pg. 62

Topic Tracking: Love 4

Carbon De Castel-Jaloux enters dramatically. He congratulates Cyrano on last night's battle, and asks him to come across the street, where the rest of the regiment is drinking in his honour. Cyrano refuses, but that doesn't stop Carbon. He loudly announces that Cyrano is hiding in the bakery, and dozens of Soldiers and Officers rush across into the Bakery to congratulate him. Cyrano thanks them. Le Bret enters, telling Cyrano that there is a huge crowd waiting in the street to celebrate him, led by the witnesses to his fight the night before. Cyrano finds him surrounded by well-wishers: Marquis who want to be his friend, a Journalist who wants to tell his story, and the crowd outside constantly chants his name. Countless poets want to immortalize him in verse, and Cyrano replies: "(Hand on the hilt of his sword.) I shall mortalize the lot of you!" Act 2, pg. 65 More people flood into the shop, including Cuigy, Brissaile and De Guiche. De Guiche praises Cyrano somewhat half-heartedly. Cyrano doesn't respond. De Guiche makes an off-handed comment about Cyrano's regiment, after which Carbon insists that Cyrano sings the regimental song that he composed. It bores De Guiche.

After Cyrano has finished singing, De Guiche offers to become his patron. Cyrano refuses. De Guiche suggests that if Cyrano becomes his poet, he can introduce him to his uncle, Cardinal Richelieu. Le Bret reminds Cyrano that with De Guiche's backing he could see his plays produced! De Guiche offers to show the plays to his uncle, who can perhaps edit them a little. Cyrano is offended: "I would die at the stake rather than change a semi-colon!" Act 2, pg. 67 A Young Guard enters, carrying the hats of the men Cyrano battled the night before. Cuigy wonders who hired the assassins. De Guiche reveals that it was him. He wanted to kill Ligniere because he was sick of being insulted in poems and songs. Cyrano drops the hats at De Guiche's feet and suggests he return them to his thugs. De Guiche is offended - just before leaving furiously, he threatens Cyrano, comparing him to don Quixote and the windmills, but Cyrano's wit turns the metaphor against De Guiche:

"De Guiche: Remember: they make formidable enemies.
Cyrano: Do they? Those large empty machines which twist and turn in every gust of fashion?
De Guiche: Beware: they can gather you easily in their lofty arms and hurl you down to the gutter!
Cyrano: Or up, into the stars!"
Act 2, pg. 69

Topic Tracking: Art and Poetry 6

De Guiche storms out angrily, effectively ending the party. The crowd thins out and the remaining soldiers sit and begin to eat. Le Bret is furious - he demands to know why Cyrano would go out of his way to offend such a powerful man - a potential Patron. Cyrano responds in an extended speech that to write for money, to write for others, deadens the poet's art, it removes the fire and the passion. He would rather be a beggar writing for himself than a rich poet working for some faceless nobleman, listening to critics and editors. Le Bret asks why Cyrano prefers enemies to friends - Cyrano responds that he trusts enemies. Friends can betray you, but you always know what an enemy wants. Le Bret suggests that Cyrano is just upset because Roxane doesn't love him, but Cyrano won't respond. Christian is in the bakery, sitting on his own, being ostracized by the other Soldiers. They warn him never to mention the word 'Nose'. Christian assumes it's just part of the hazing, and when Cyrano begins the story of his battle, Christian makes a subtle jab about Cyrano's nose. Cyrano asks who said 'nose', and is told that it's Christian. He controls his anger, and continues the story. Then Christian makes another joke about his nose. Cyrano fights to control himself as Christian continues making jokes about his nose. All the other soldiers wait for the other shoe to drop, but Cyrano holds it in. Finally, he can't take it any more, and he demands that everyone leave him alone with Christian.

Topic Tracking: Honor 5

The soldiers reluctantly leave, hating to miss the fight. Once they're alone, Cyrano embraces Christian, and explains that he's the almost-brother of the woman Christian loves. Christian apologizes for his insults. Cyrano informs Christian that Roxane will be expecting a letter from him. Christian tells Cyrano that he has no wit when it comes to matters of love - he's hopeless. Cyrano tells Christian that put together they are the perfect man, one with both wit and beauty. Christian doesn't understand, so Cyrano explains it to him - he will give Christian things to say, things that will win Roxane's heart. Christian asks what Cyrano will get out of it. Cyrano claims that it will entertain him - maybe he'll write a play about it. Christian wonders how he'll be able to write a letter before this evening. Cyrano hands Christian the letter he wrote to Roxane, and tells him to sign his name to it. Christian ask if it is appropriate for Roxane. Cyrano responds, somewhat sadly: "It is addressed to the bravest, the brainiest, the blondest, the most beautiful woman on earth! How could she think it was meant for anyone but her?" Act 2, pg. 78 The two men embrace, friends. A few of the Guards peek back in and see this, confused. Assuming that Cyrano has turned coward, the Musketeer walks over to Cyrano and insults his nose while calling him a coward. Cyrano waits for a second, then punches the Musketeer out. Everyone cheers.

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