Can you describe the process of training for the combat in Three Musketeers at the Old Vic?

Three%20Musketeers%20Logo200.jpgHello Ken,

It seems I may be fortunate enough to direct TWO of your plays this season. We have submitted Sullivan & Gilbert and await a positive response. I have now been asked to submit myself to direct your Three Musketeers! I am rather fortunate that I am married to a Fight Director and have some experience and training with combat myself - probably why they've asked me to submit. But in reading through your play and counting up the number of violent moments you call for, I am wondering what the Old Vic, (or other production companies) may have done to prepare. They likely had more budget than we will, but you are always so helpful with suggestions to companies in your scripts, that I thought you might have some insight on how to approach all the adventure called for in your show - not to mention all the props necessary to create that adventure.

Also, has anyone ever made use of a large 'regiment' of Musketeers to help create the atmosphere or mystique of being in the guard, either as a prologue, at intermission or somewhere in the show itself...(i.e. marching through the theatre, as a transition into Traville's house, before the La Rochelle scene, etc.) and what would you think of that?


Ken replies:


Dear Ceris,

Thank you so much for your email. And congratulations on directing both shows!

The%20Three%20Musketeers%20Production%2010.jpgIndeed there are a wide variety of fights in The Three Musketeers. The way the fight director approached it at the Old Vic was to look at each fight as an opportunity to do a different kind of stage fight. For example, when d'Artagnan is freed from his shackles by his friends, the fight is mainly hand-to-hand combat. When the King's Guards face off with the Musketeers in the famous confrontation where d'artagnan first joins the Musketeers, it's an opportunity for a sword fight with the action occurring in four different places around the stage. When d'Artagnan saves Constance, there's an opportunity for a one-on-one sword fight focused on just the two characters. And when Milady confronts d'Artagnan it's combat with a dagger and a sword. Marchello%20Walton%20as%20Treville-Father%20and%20George%20Rainsford%20as%20D%27Artagnan.jpgSo each fight was choreographed with the knowledge that there were lots of fights around it and that they each had to feel like a different moment in one long ballet. And of course each fight reflects the characters involved and advances not only the action per se but also the emotional journeys of the characters.

This is all equally true, of course, with regard to the fights throughout my adaptation of Treasure Island.

Unfortunately, there's not a prop list at the end of the published play, but I think the props that are necessary are implied by the action in each case. For example, the handkerchief that Aramis drops could be used when Aramis later faces d'Artagnan - and then in the fight with he Guards that immediately follows.


As for the large regiment of Musketeers, absolutely, I think that's a great idea. To have them march through the theatre or simply march onto the stage en masse would give a great sense of atmosphere to the piece and create just the kind of rousing moment that the play thrives on.

Again, thank you for your wonderful questions and I wish you all the success in the world for your production of The Three Musketeers. I'm sure it'll be a smash hit.


Best regards,

Ken

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