Tuesday, June 25, 2013

All for one...!

Lifeline Theater is by far my favorite venue for straight plays. They always perform with the highest quality, and do most of their adaptations themselves. They have done many adaptations of my favorite books, and done them excellently, too. Some that come to mind are A Cricket in Times Square, Johnny Tremain, Treasure Island, Pride and Prejudice, The Count of Monte Cristo, and The Mark of Zorro (though I haven't read the book that corresponds with the latter).
On Friday, my family and I went to see their latest production of The Three Musketeers. (You may remember my mentioning rereading the book.) What can I say? It was excellent, as always.
(If you're wondering, its d'Artagnan, Aramis, Porthos, and Athos, from left to right)

I must say that I highly commend the writers of this play for incorporating practically the entire book into two hours. Apparently this is one of the first versions of The Three Musketeers that does this. Others have only focused on parts of the story.

The actors were spectacular, as always. I couldn't have wished for a better d'Artagnan. He was headstrong, clever, a good swordsman, and yet had that innocent quality about him that sets him apart from the Three Inseparables. (And it didn't hurt that he was the most attractive guy on stage. No, of course I didn't notice when he took his shirt off, twice. Why would I?)
When I was younger, it was one of my dreams to play Constance Bonacieux onstage next to a handsome d'Artagnan. I now realize that my calling is not that of an actress, so the next best thing is to see an excellent, and most adorable lady as Constance next to an equally excellent and adorable d'Artagnan.
Aren't they so cute together?

You may realize that d'Artagnan is wearing a t-shirt. Not very period, is it?

It worked though, and marvelously. The white is to distinguish d'Artagnan as a King's Guard. The King's Musketeers had blue t-shirts (and bullet-proof vests) and the Cardinal's Guards had red t-shirts. They all had weaponry suited to the time period, though, and the t-shirts had an ornate design of fleur-des-lis. The ladies in the cast had simple, tunic-like dresses that fit nicely. Queen Anne of Austria had her share of bling, but it was tempered bling.
Here is a photo from a scene where they are defending a garrison alone (just four of them!). They made a bet that they could defend it for an hour. It was Athos's way of getting them some time alone to eat and to talk privately. Not my idea of a pleasant lunch and chat!

Lifeline, with its characteristic simplicity, had a set made of metal poles and beams. This set, with the movement of a few chairs and benches, became, over the course of the play, d'Artagnan's apartment, the place of M. de Treville, the King's castle, a roadside tavern, a fort, and various other locations. The actors slid down poles, climbed out of trap doors, and swung on monkey-bars. It didn't at all distract from the play - in fact, it enhanced it.

Milady - Lady deWinter - was not what I envisioned the character as, but she made it work. Milady is described as blonde, blue-eyed, and stunningly beautiful. The actress playing her was dark haired, dark-eyed, and attractive - though not stunningly so. But she made up for that with her sensuality and her portrayal of downright villainy. It just made me hate Milady even more - that's a complement to the actress!

There was a poster in the lobby that provided more information on the time period and on Dumas' life.
Fun fact: did you know that Dumas' paternal grandmother was black? His father was the first black general in French history! How cool. Dumas Sr. was born in Saint-Domingue, which is now a part of Haiti, and his mother was a native there.
I love fun literary facts like that.

Nadar - Alexander Dumas père (1802-1870) - Google Art Project 2.jpg
Dumas Jr.

Alexandre Dumas (1762-1806).JPG
Dumas Sr.

If you have the time, I highly recommend that you go see the show. Even if you haven't read the book, you will love it. But you should read the book - you'll love that, too!
(though you should get the translation by Richard Pevear)


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