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MCT Proposal - The Three Musketeers

Updated: Nov 14, 2022

The Three Musketeers, adapted by John Chambers

Proposed by director Martin Oslick

Play Synopsis

This epic full-length romp, suitable for a family audience, captures the spirit of Dumas’ classic without slavishly lifting it line by line. It follows D’Artagnan’s quest to become a musketeer against the background of royalist and religious plotting and power struggles — with more than a few laughs on the way. D’Artagnan and his three friends fight in the king’s musketeers for the honor of the queen, who is trying to hide her affair with the Duke of Buckingham. The evil Cardinal Richelieu and the scheming Milady de Winter try to foil their success at every turn. The adventure takes them to England and back as they fight for their king and queen.

Vision Statement

Espionage. Femme fatales. Diamonds. Races against a clock. Secrets, betrayal, iconic fights, and tightly woven plot twists. A story that has been retold over and over again, a story that everyone has heard in some form or another.

Is this description about The Three Musketeers or James Bond?

Well, why not both?

In this version of Alexandre Dumas’s iconic, swashbuckling French tale, we are going to blend the sleek aesthetics of the 50s and 60s with the capes and rapiers of the 17th century for a unique, unforgettable production. The Three Musketeers lends itself perfectly to being retold as a Bond story. In many ways, it was one of the first spy thrillers. Combining political intrigue, complicated romances, high stakes, memorable characters, and a competent (mostly), cocky (always) protagonist, 3M has proven to be timeless. It will never stop getting new adaptations, because, as the success of the Bond franchise also informs us, humans are delighted by a spy story. It’s not just the window-dressings of the stories that are comparable, either. 3M laid the foundations on which many of the tropes that Bond and other spy thrillers are built. Interestingly, several of these tropes were originally inverted from their common forms today, such as the way the story handles the deaths of love interests. Rather than killing the main character’s romantic interest off at the beginning of the story for motivation, 3M saves one death for the very end, and contains the reveal that Athos’s supposedly dead wife is alive and one of the main antagonists. For those who arrive expecting to see traditional “fridging” of the romantic leads, the version more often seen in Bond stories, this show will flip the trope on its head and keep the audience on their toes.

Of course, something else that is important to highlight in both of these stories is that the ‘heroes’ are, crucially, not particularly good people. The Musketeers unapologetically have affairs with married women, kill other soldiers in war (in this script, even singing a fairly bloody and brutal song about the subject to the mother of a young man who died in a recent battle), and uphold and benefit from the status quo that is frequently harmful to marginalized people...wait, is this still about 3M, or Bond? Again, it’s both. Direct parallels can be drawn between Bond working for and protecting the establishment of governments who are actively disenfranchising lower class people (both in their own countries and others), and the Musketeers fighting to uphold Queen Anne’s reputation to keep the monarchy stable while France sends thousands of young men to die in the wars with England. This production will emphasize this aspect of the story, which is often glossed over, and ask the audience to reckon with what the characters are doing with the contrast of the narrative still encouraging them to root for the characters, laugh at their antics, and shed tears for their very human grief.

At the same time, the play is very funny. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and delights in poking gentle fun at the characters. And, obviously, there’s an incredible amount of potential for heart-pounding, cheer-worthy fight choreography. There will be dancing, singing, bottle-smashing, poisoning, seduction, double-crossing, and true friendship that will leave the audience in love with the characters and their stories while acknowledging their flaws. They won’t ever forget it.

All for one, and Bond for all!

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