It’s one of those roles that is so massive and large that it holds a lot of different actors,” says Derrick Lee Weeden, an actor himself. He’s talking about Cyrano de Bergerac, the famous lover and fighter with the long nose who pines for the beautiful Roxane. Despite his male bravery, he’s too self-conscious to declare his love. The classic French comedy opened last Sunday at PCPA in its Solvang theater and it runs through September 1.

“It’s like Hamlet,” he continues. “You have all these actors bringing something to it over the years.” But unlike Hamlet, it’s a role that Mr. Weeden hadn’t thought about playing until Roger DeLaurier offered it to him. Mr. Weeden sought his friends’ opinions on the matter and they all insisted on it, saying it was perfect for the actor who’s played Coriolanus, Othello, and other great classic roles. Now he’s taking on a character who many associate in its modern day remake with Steve Martin, or onstage with Derek Jacobi, Patrick Page, or Mark Harlick, and he hopes to find his place “in that river of de Bergerac as well.”

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Live and Direct – A&L puts theater lovers up close without a plane ticket

A scene from Complicite's production of "A Disappearing Number," conceived and directed by Simon McBurney. Stephanie Berger Photos
A scene from Complicite’s production of “A Disappearing Number,” conceived and directed by Simon McBurney.
Stephanie Berger Photos

When David Sabel was a young man studying theater at Northwestern University, he was far, far away from the theater companies that he studied. It wasn’t until age 19 that he was able to travel to London and check out National Theatre, among others. Today, he is a producer of National Theatre Live, bringing live simulcast plays to any theater with the technology, including UCSB’s Campbell Hall. And nobody has to buy an airplane ticket.

“I would have killed to see these productions when I was studying,” Sabel says. He is, of course, speaking of the six-play season that kicks off Tuesday with “A Disappearing Number,” conceived and directed by Simon McBurney.

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