Updated: Feb 13, 2022
This pre-St. Valentine’s Sunday, I’m venturing out to see Glaswegian actor James McAvoy as Cyrano de Bergerac at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London. Cyrano de Bergerac is about a wordsmith and poet who falls in love with a woman but writes her love letters through his foil – a handsome nobleman – for fear of rejection due to his extraordinarily large nose. Cyrano is ultimately about the courage to be one’s ordinary self, a timely story in today’s hyped-up world of fronting appearances.
Last weekend, I was also lucky enough to see the 2020 Japanese film, Belle, produced in Studio Chizu by Director Hosoda Mamoru. Finally airing in UK cinemas, Belle is an adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, another story about ordinary human courage. In Hosoda’s version, Belle is an ordinary schoolgirl, not a princess, and the avatar beast in Belle is actually an ordinary boy, not a beast that turns back into a prince, but both girl and boy show extraordinary courage in an effort to live their everyday lives and fight to stand up for themselves.
I’m a little bummed Belle didn’t get any Oscar nominations but the omission from the critics’ list doesn’t have to keep anyone from watching it. And anyway, if holiday names were up to me, I’d change Valentine’s Monday to Ordinary Courage Week and celebrate all the ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Take, for example, the teacher I saw in a video this week. This ordinary teacher spends recess time with a kid who has cerebral palsy jumping in hopscotch squares so he can enjoy recess with all the other ordinary kids. There are so many other ordinary people who do such extraordinary things every day.
And also anyway, fun fact to know about Valentine’s is that there are apparently about a dozen or so St. Valentines, and the one we celebrate is thought to be a heartthrob beheaded on the 14th of February 207AD, not the other saint, a woman, St. Valentina of Palestine, who was burnt at the stake for trying to stop her friend Thea from being tortured. That’s pretty random.
Cyrano de Bergerac at Harold Pinter is the first theatre I’m going to since 2019 so I’m very excited. I’ll pop in a little review in the comments section once I’ve been. Enjoy your entertainment this weekend whatever you’re doing!