I can’t decide between two modern retellings of Cyrano, because they both warm the cockles of my heart with their romanticism and excessive ridiculousness. Firstly, there is Roxanne (1987). Starring Steve Martin and Darryl Hannah, this is the rom com Cyrano was alway meant to be. More recently and on the pop culture trend, there is Cyrano Agency (2010), which is a korean drama in which very attractive people who work at a love connection agency help other very attractive people find dates. It’s blissful fluff. No substance here, really, but all the enjoyment to be had!
If you’re looking for higher intellectual quality in your entertainment, search out Cyrano de Bergerac (1950). It is a black and white film for any young ‘uns out there, but don’t shy away! It’s amazing! Cyrano is at his wittiest prime. If you truly can’t handle the old timey affectations of this film, try the 1990 film of the same name, starring Gerard Depardieu very finely – and in color.
When I was a child I remember being read a set of African animal fables and that’s what the Anansi stories and “The People Could Fly” reminded me of. The stories came from a book that may have been The Zebra’s Stripes and Other African Animal Tales by Dianne Stewart and Kathy Pienaar. If not, that book is very similar and I would recommend it if you would like to explore more stories like Anansi’s. These stories are meant to be educational and do so by “explaining” how animals became the way they are. The stories are fun and light hearted, enjoy!
I have read fairytales and fables from a number of different cultures that I think others would enjoy if they liked this episode. I really enjoy The Great Fairy Tale Tradition selected and edited by Jack Zipes. It features tales from Straparola, Basile, and the Brothers Grimm who wrote from different parts of Europe in different eras. These stories are more adult than the fable type tales of this episode, if you would like something a little more grim, pun intended.
One of my favorite Shakespeare plays is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and I highly recommend this if R&J gave you the blues. It’s a classic comedy in which everyone goes into the woods, things turn upside down and topsy-turvy, and in the end everyone winds up with what they want (more or less). There’s even an R&J reference, albeit in the original form of Pyramus and Thisbe, by Ovid. I once saw a production which had a live rock band and Puck dressed in a red speedo. Needless to say it was a thrilling experience for a 13 year old.
I am going to throw a novel in here to match Erin’s film and suggest Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. Another really excellent “boys’ novel” published periodically in a magazine called Young Folks in 1886. It’s basically a rad YA novel full of action and hardship, much like Oliver Twist, about characters adapted from real life people and stories in the aftermath of the Jacobite rebellion in Scotland. Nothing like a good read about people’s miserable lives getting more difficult!