“Nothing Succeeds like Success” for The Three Musketeers’ director Pam Downs

What can you tell me abut The Three Musketeers?

The novel by Alexandre Dumas has been adapted for screen so many times. This version is a modern adaptation by Charles Morey. I looked at many adaptations, and this is the one I fell in love with.

One of the most compelling things about “The Three Musketeers” is the author Dumas. In this particular version, Dumas is one of the characters, so there is a dual story of the swashbuckling adventure and the author writing the play.

Was casting difficult?

The casting was difficult for D’Artagnon [Clay Kirkwood] as he is in almost every scene. He has to be fit, do combat, have an appearance women would swoon over, and look very young. We had about five men doing callbacks for three or four hours because the play hinges on that part.

The other musketeers function as one character, like the Dumas quote, “All for one and one for all,” and it’s a motto for our show. Another Dumas quote is: “Nothing succeeds like success.” That’s what we hope for.

How are you doing the choreography or fight scenes?

The choreographer is Kara Penrose, from the Bay Area. She has directed a lot of fights, and this is the biggest project in her career. She will be choreographing every fight in the show. Tomorrow, we start basic combat and safety. Because that is the key, when you do stage fights, you use no safety equipment, no masks or padded clothing.

Our rapiers are blunted on the end, but they could still kill you. So safety is very important. It is safer to start without protective gear, so actors don’t come to rely on that. It is potentially really dangerous. A lot of our cast was chosen because of their martial arts or tumbling background. Our villainess, Chelsea [Ciechaowski], is a kick boxer, and that’s a good combination.

Fencing for theater is all about appearance with strong wind-up and emphasis on the swing. With the kind of safety training we are providing, we are anticipating that no one will get hurt.

When do you open?

We open Friday, the 26 of April, and run until Sunday, May 5. The second week it plays at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 2. The Thursday performance is a little earlier and is specifically geared for students who still need to catch a bus or have to wake up early on Fridays.

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