Phs Production Of 'Cyrano' Debuts Thursday

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When Payson High School junior Chris Bott takes the stage this week as the legendary Cyrano de Bergerac, he'll get to perform one of the most famous monologues in all of theater.

Here's how it goes: When another character insults Bergerac's gigantic nose, the eloquent swordsman mockingly answers, adding other, more witty insults to the list:

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Chris Bott will have the lead in an adaptation of the classic play, "Cyrano de Bergerac" presented by Payson High School Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the school auditorium.

AGGRESSIVE: I, sir, if that nose were mine, I'd have it amputated -- on the spot!

FRIENDLY: How do you drink with such a nose? You ought to have a cup made specially.

DESCRIPTIVE: ‘Tis a rock -- a crag -- a cape -- A cape? say rather, a peninsula!

KINDLY: Ah, do you love the little birds so much that when they come and sing to you, you give them this to perch on?

The PHS Drama Department's production of "Cyrano de B," an adaptation of the original Edmond Rostand play by David Helmstetter, is set in the swing era during World War II.

But it's the same story so popular with movie and theater fans -- of Cyrano's love for the beautiful Roxanne, whom he is obliged to woo on behalf of Christian, his handsome but tongue-tied friend.

In the PHS production, Carina Peters is Roxanne and A.J. Hlavacek is Christian. Also featured are the PHS Swing Dancers and Club Singers.

Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Friday, with Rim Country Middle School music teacher Mike Buskirk's Payson Jazz Band playing from 7-7:30 p.m. before the two evening performances.

Tickets are $4 for adults, $3 for senior citizens and students (first- through 12th-grades), $2 for Longhorn Pride cardholders, and free for Thespian cardholders.

PHS Thespians ace festival

The PHS Drama Department showed off its collective performing skills earlier this month at the Central Arizona Acting Festival in Apache Junction, outperforming some 20 other high schools from around the state.

"Sisters," one of four one-act issue plays that were performed in Payson in December, took top honors at the festival with a superior ranking. The play stars Shannon Horton, Lanie James, Amber Keller, Myrena Still, Chris Ross and Mick Stern.

Set aboard a cruise ship, "Sisters" is about an aggressive, pushy woman who gets on everybody's nerves and her quiet sister who puts up with her.

"She annoys all the other passengers to the point that they get together and say, ‘we're going to do something about her,' and it involves knitting needles," John Siler, volunteer theater assistant, said. "It's kind of a dark comedy, but a funny comedy. It's about what happens to big-mouth people who are bullies."

The festival also featured a number of individual events, including monologues, pantomimes, acting scenes, musical theater and a catch-all category for everything else called potpourri. A number of PHS drama students competed in these events.

"We took a superior in dual acting, with Mick Stern and Jared Winebrenner doing a cutting from the play, "The Producers," Siler said. "It was quite good; it was rather excellent, really."

Siler was especially proud of a quartet of students who earned a superior in the potpourri category.

"It was a fight scene, a hand-to-hand combat scene called ‘Action Figures,'" he said. "It involved two guys with these life-sized action dummies, and it got pretty wild.

"First they're walking the dummies through and then there's this click and the dummies start moving on their own. Then the dummies fight with each other and then they start fighting with the people."

Ben Tackett and Ross played the dummies, while Taylor Johnson and Danny Neff were their owners.

"They took a superior," Siler said. "They had everybody standing and screaming, and they made it all up."

The students utilized an acting technique Siler and wife Kathy, the PHS drama instructor, teach called close combat.

"It looks closer than a lot of the stuff you see, like at the Renaissance Festival," Siler said. "A lot of that looks as phony as can be."

The PHS contingent also took a number of excellents, including a song from, "Gypsy" by Horton and Jamie Rusovick, and a rendition of Abbot and Costello's famous, "Who's On First" by Rusovick and Peters.

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