Aquila Theatre offers double dose


The Aquila Theatre Company is bringing two plays to the Young Auditorium this week. Both “Cyrano de Bergerac” and “The Taming of the Shrew” tell comedic and heart-wrenching love stories.

J. Michael Worthington Jr. photo

“Cyrano de Bergerac” will show at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 23. “The Taming of the Shrew” shows the next night at 7:30 p.m.

“Cyrano de Bergerac,” written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand, tells the story of a man named Cyrano who fights to win the heart of the beautiful Roxanne while overcoming insecurity brought on by his large nose.

The plot revolves around a love triangle between Cyrano, Roxanne and a man named Christian.

Because Cyrano considers himself to be ugly, he is painfully shy and finds it difficult to tell Roxanne about his feelings.

He gets the idea to pretend to be Christian and write letters for her.

Jamie Bower, who will play the lead role of Cyrano, said he’s never had a more demanding or entertaining role before.

“He’s a wonderful character to play,” Bower said. “He’s brave, funny, angry, witty and in love.”

The Aquila Theatre company has a few surprises in store for those who have seen the production before. Actress Lewis Barfoot wrote a song she will perform called “Qui, Quio, Quand, Ou?”

“I wrote it in the first week of rehearsals and am delighted to be sharing it with audiences,” Barfoot said. “It speaks about the loss of a loved one and missing the opportunity to reciprocate love when it is offered to you.”

Barfoot said the members of Aquila Theatre are excited to perform at UW-Whitewater because this will be their first time here.

“Let’s hope we have a full house,” Barfoot said.

J. Michael Worthington Jr. photo

“The Taming of the Shrew” is a Shakespearean comedy about a man trying to find someone to marry his temperamental eldest daughter, Katherine. Her father set a rule that she must get married before her younger, more pleasant sister, Bianca can start considering suitors.

Katherine’s sour attitude is infamous, and no one wants to marry her. That is, until one of Bianca’s many suitors bribe the bachelor, Petruchio, into wooing her.

James Bellorini, who will play Petruchio in “The Taming of the Shrew,” said the bachelor is an entertaining character to play.

“He is a larger than life character: zany, witty, opinionated and without any pretense,” Bellorini said. “He is also clever and shrewd.”

Although the play was written hundreds of years ago, Bellorini said the morals it portrays withstand the test of time.

“It never ceases to be clear how much people connect with Shakespeare, no matter where they are from or what age they are,” Bellorini said. “His themes never date, and even where the language might be difficult, there is a great deal of meaning and enjoyment that modern audiences receive.”

The language in which Shakespeare wrote can prove difficult for modern audiences to connect with. Bower said helping the audience grasp the messages that are sometimes buried in the Old-English language is just part of the fun.

“Performing Shakespeare is always fun,” Bower said. “The challenge lies in letting the audience in and helping them to see past the language to the truth behind it, which considering how old the plays are, is still completely relevant today.”