The story of the 11th century Spanish hero before his rise to fame. Rodrigo is a charming young courtier who plans to marry Ximene. But when her father, the chief general in the King's army, insults Rodrigo's father, he promptly finds himself challenged by Rodrigo to a duel. The young suitor, inexperienced in warfare, knows that if he loses he dies. But also that if he wins he loses Ximene. Pierre Corneille's famous play examines the complex moral and emotional dilemmas faced by the legendary champion-to-be, and his intended.
Translated and adapted by Ranjit Bolt
Directed by Peter Kavanagh
The star-studded cast included James Purefoy as the Cid, with Indira Varma as Ximene, Gina Mc Kee as the Princess, and featuring Eleanor Bron and David Calder.
Pierre Corneille was one of France's three outstanding Classical dramatists, alongside Racine and Moliere. The Cid is his most famous - but in Britain too little-performed - play.
The distinguished translator Ranjit Bolt's refashioning tells the story of the younger Cid, a self-indulgent, love-smitten courtier in 11th century Spain who when duty calls rises to the occasion to become Spain's greatest hero.
It is a tale of love, honour and might, but in the great tradition of Racine and their other contemporary writers of tragedy, Corneille focuses on romantic dilemma, to show how lovers act under intense duress, and what choices - and perhaps compromises - they then make.
Bolt's translation is at once daring and faithful. He has observed the conventions of 17th century French Drama (rules imposed on his select group of writers by the infamous Cardinal Richelieu, intent on restoring classical virtues). But Bolt in customary fashion has dynamised the language and style.
Featuring Spanish guitar music by, amongst others, Heitor Villa-Lobos.