The Three Musketeers is a story of honor, family, friendship and love. It’s all for one, and one for all. Fittingly, the audience at the Tisbury Amphitheatre has been filled lately with families and friends, and even children, who seem especially able to relate to the moral of the story.
The show is produced by the Vineyard Playhouse and is performed at the amphitheatre every Thursday through Saturday through August 9. Each evening opens with a sword fight, with cast members sprinting after each other through the aisles, with duels and more sword fights occurring throughout the two-hour show. There is also a bit of singing and dancing.
Even during the 10-minute intermission, the audience never leaves 17th century France. The children in the audience use that time to create makeshift swords out of branches and twigs to duel with each other on the stage.
“Honestly, I always love the plays put on by the Vineyard Playhouse,” said one enthusiastic man in the audience. “But this was something else. It was hilarious, and my whole family was entertained the entire time. It was a great production.”
The only props on the outdoor stage are two “magic curtains” that the cast manipulates to create the space. When the actors go behind the magic curtains, anything can happen.
“The play is without a doubt written for a space that has much more technical control,” said director Scott Barrow. “For me the biggest challenge was not being able to control the lights, but it’s the joy of working out there. You have to find creative ways to do things.”
Along with finding creative ways to control the set, Mr. Barrow had to think up ways to play music without a sound system, move cast members who “died” on stage, and get actors into different characters without an extensive costume collection. Mr. Barrow could have tried to hide their inability to control everything in the natural environment, but instead he decided to work with it and incorporate it into the humor of the play.
Out of 40 characters that were written into the play, there are only 15 cast members. This meant that actors had to figure out ways to become many different people. For example, one actress, Chelsea McCarthy, played Porthos, one of the male musketeers. The only thing she needed was a false mustache, and she was instantly in character.
The Three Musketeers is the first non-Shakespeare play that has ever been held at Theatre Out of Doors. Mr. Barrow and MJ Bruder, the artistic and executive director of the playhouse, decided on the Three Musketeers because it was based on a classic. The adaptation that they decided on, however, was very non-traditional.
Ken Ludwig adapted the play and even added a few characters, one being Sabine, the younger sister of D’Artagnan. It turned out to be a popular choice.
“Sabine was my favorite character,” said a young girl in the audience. “She reminds me of myself because I like to play with my older brother, too.”
Another important part of the adaptation was the abundance of sword fights. Almost every other scene features humorous and dramatic sword fights. The actors often chase each other into the seats and involve the audience.
“We’re not trying to hide anything,” said Mr. Barrow. “We’re having fun with this, and we want you to have fun with this, so we’re going to cast you in the audience and bring you in.”
The Three Musketeers plays at the Tisbury Amphitheatre every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening at 5 p.m. through August 9.