Award-winning British author McCaughrean brilliantly brings a familiar and lovable character to life.
GERALDINE MCCAUGHREAN is the author of the sequel to J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan and has written more than 130 books and plays for adults and children. She has won numerous awards, including the Carnegie Medal and three Whitbread Awards. She lives in Berkshire, England.
A Night at the Teatre89 Te curtain goes up. Silence falls. A painted moon wavers on a painted backdrop. The audience shivers with delight. For what could be better than an evening at a Paris theatre? Who more famous than the evenings glittering star? Enter the magnificent Montfleury, stage right!The mighty Montfleury had not spoken more than three lines when a voice even louder than his own came booming out of the auditorium: What? Has this thing appeared again tonight? The audience parted like the Red Sea, and there he stood: Cyrano had come after all. Montfleury, I thought I forbade you ever to set foot on stage again! You are the greatest ham since the Gadarene Swine. Be so good as to cart your streaky bacon off the stage and be gone!Uproar. Half the audience began to moan and groan, not wanting to be robbed of the play they had come to see. The rest were just as happy to watch Cyrano rant against Bad Acting. Montfleury might be grossly huge and Cyrano as lean as a greyhound, but as celebrities went, Cyrano de Bergerac was by far the largerlarger than Life, in fact. Montfleury flung his arms about and tried to begin again, but it was hopeless.Call yourself an actor? The trees of Birnam Wood were less wooden in Macbeth! Will you leave the stage of your own accord or must I cut you up into logs and burn you?The actors lines gurgled back down his throat like water down a drain. He could see the white panache on Cyranos hat looming through the smoke of the footlights, and his two fat little legs told him to run.The audience took sides: Get on with the play!You tell him, Cyrano!Stand your ground, Montfleury!Teach him a lesson, Cyrano!But the other actors were protesting on their own behalf. Whos going to pay us if we pack up and go home? they wanted to know. They had no objection to Montfleury-the-Ham getting hamstrung, but they could not afford to lose an evenings pay. With a flourish worthy of royalty, Cyrano tossed back his cloak, reached across his body . . .Hes going for his sword!. . . and drew out a bulging purse. He tossed it onto the stage where it burst gloriously open, spilling golden coins across the boards and fetching an acrobatic display from the actors as they dived to gather it up. Applause and peals of laughter burst from the gallery: The play might be lost, but the gesture was too impossibly grand to resist. What a divine fool that Cyrano was! What a colossus of style!Quel panache! On the sill of a nearby opera box, however, the fingers of a black-gloved hand drummed irritably. The Gascon is making a nuisance of himself, said the Comte de Guiche, through a yawn of exquisite boredom. Do something about him. One of his retinue slipped out of the opera box and downstairs to the auditorium.Cyrano had started to list, in verse, all the reasons for drowning bad actors in big buckets. But he had no sooner started than he was interrupted by a jeering, sneering heckler. Whats this, then? Is Sir-run-nose poking his nose i
Excerpted from Cyrano by Geraldine McCaughrean All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.