The Passing of an Actor

The Passing of an Actor $9

Willard Simms

Published by Dramatists Play Service

3 Male 1 Female

An aging actor, forced into retirement after a lifetime on the stage, but knowing no other way to live, decides he will create for himself a life entirely of his own choosing

He takes up residence in a rundown, abandoned theatre, and hires other performers to come and act with him in a drama based on Rostand's immortal "Cyrano de Bergerac," in which he, of course, is Cyrano

However, the play is really a kind of perversion of the original in that it allows Cyrano to live at the close of the play, and also to win Roxanne as his own, forever. At first the actors are rather amused at the Old Actor's comical and quaint actions but, ultimately, one of them becomes quite angry at the way he is being "used"

He challenges the Old Actor to a duel, following the true script of the play. The Old Actor now has to make a choice. He can accept the challenge and lose, as Cyrano did, or, instead, he can attempt to retreat as tactfully as possible - and thereby live to fight another day

His decision raises the play to a level of true tragic dimension, and saves the Old Actor from being nothing more than an escapist fool; showing him instead to be an honest, human, sympathetic character somehow pathetic and yet almost noble at the same time

Part of the trilogy entitled Variations on an Untitled Theme. Presented originally at West Texas State University. A highly original and affecting work which combines power and pathos in its revealing study of an aging actor who seeks to find reality - and himself-through his uniquely personal interpretation of Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac

" a moving work. It touches the viewer with pathos first, and then comedy, but tragedy, which overrides the whole, is the culminating force" ~ Amarillo (Tex.) Globe-Times

Especially recommended for play contest use

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