CLEVELAND, Ohio — Alexandre Dumas wrote “The A few Musketeers” in 1844. Because then, the swashbuckling tale of mustachioed swordsmen in feathered hats has been informed and retold plenty of moments in literature, on phase and on screen.
But possibilities are you have never witnessed a model like the 1 now taking part in at Cleveland Perform Home.
Initially scheduled to open in early February, the engage in was delayed because of to the omicron surge. But subsequent a thirty day period of rehearsals, the curtain lastly rose for preview performances at Playhouse Square’s Allen Theatre on April 30. The exhibit officially opens Thursday and operates through May 22.
“It is these types of a amazing experience to eventually be ready to share to share this outstanding display with the group,” director Laura Kepley said. “This is the best show for persons who are craving obtaining out and owning stay activities. This exhibit seriously packs it all in.”
In circumstance your memory requirements refreshing, the tale tells of the adventures of D’Artagnan, a youthful, but competent dueler in 17th century France who desires of signing up for the Musketeers of the Guard, protectors of the king and queen. But he speedily runs afoul of the sinister brokers of the evil Cardinal Richelieu, who usually means to embarrass the queen and undermine the king’s electricity. Alongside the way, D’Artagnan meets 3 musketeers — Athos, Porthos and Aramis — who befriend him and acquire him under their wing. Drama, tragedy and comedy ensue as the now 4 musketeers experience political intrigue, top secret dalliances, stolen diamonds and, of course, daring sword fights.
“For me, this is a tale about friendship and how we find ourselves by discovering our pals and what it signifies to stand up for other people,” explained Kepley. The enjoy is her final as CPH’s artistic director following asserting her departure in March soon after almost 12 years of provider.
“It has been an honor,” she mentioned of her tenure at the venerable cultural institution. “Having this participate in as a beacon on the horizon has gotten me by way of some of these actually complicated pandemic times and instances. I’m quite self-assured this perform will remind persons of why theater is so exciting and so important in their life.”
The director experienced desired to deal with “The Three Musketeers” for a although, reading through six or seven adaptations about the last ten several years. But when she browse playwright Catherine Bush’s model, which was commissioned in 2014 for the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, and premiered in New York City a few years later on at the Classical Theatre of Harlem, it immediately captured her imagination.
“It was rapid, it was enjoyable, it was fleet and it was so theatrical,” Kepley said.
The output employs narrative techniques these kinds of as flashbacks, flash-forwards and scenes within scenes. There are 10 combat scenes ranging from vintage swordplay to martial arts and even a meals combat. In actuality, the motion sequences, choreographed by fight director Rod Kinter, consider up 50 of the play’s 120-minute runtime. The centerpiece characteristics all four musketeers, who at periods fight many adversaries at the moment.
“The audience’s hair will be blown back,” Kepley said. “I really don’t assume persons have noticed this caliber of battling on stage in a prolonged time.”
But there was something else apart from the motion and physicality of the enjoy that drew her to Bush’s adaptation.
“She desired to make a ‘Three Musketeers’ for the Me As well period by building confident that the musketeers were honorable in a way that we see honor now,” the director stated.
Kepley and the CPH group took the playwright’s vision and ran with it, building a version that resonates with today’s audiences. 1 way the display accomplishes that is by means of identification-conscious casting.
“This is casting that opens up the vary of options for who gets to engage in and interpret these roles and then asks that the actors bring their complete selves to the roles,” Kepley mentioned “We’re not trying to fit actors into form of a normal vintage white, western sensibility, but we’re letting persons to display up as their complete selves and pull the character nearer to their very own identities.”
D’Artagnan is performed by Hassiem Muhammad, a Black actor. His nemesis Cardinal Richelieu is portrayed by Latinx actor Leraldo Anzaldúa. Jasmine Hurry provides Porthos to daily life as a Black girl. Eli Lynn, a trans nonbinary actor, takes on the purpose of Aramis.
“This genuinely will allow us to see this traditional tale in a whole new way,” Kepley said. “The rallying simply call of this participate in is ‘All for a single and a person for all.’ We felt a responsibility that as many folks as probable were represented in that ‘all.’”
To modernize the display further, Kepley and her employees used Dumas’ 17th-century location as a springboard for their imaginations and then took inventive liberties with the established, costume and audio styles. For illustration, the director describes the costumes as a mashup in between 17th-century silhouettes and current, high-trend runway kinds. The rating capabilities the kind of classical harpsichord baroque songs you’d count on but intercuts it with contemporary hip hop and pop beats.
Include almost everything up and you are in for a thrilling — and culturally appropriate — night time at the theater.
“There are laughs, thrills, gasps and a shocking volume of depth for these kinds of a rollicking experience tale,” Kepley claimed.
Cleveland Play House’s creation of “The 3 Musketeers” is now playing at the Allen Theatre, 1407 Euclid Ave., as a result of Might 22. Tickets commencing at $25 are readily available at clevelandplayhouse.com.