En route from New York City, The Acting Company isn't coming to Colorado Springs just to give audiences a look at swashbuckling rogues in tights. Instead, the famous classical theater troupe will present Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers as a young man's journey of self-discovery.
The literary classic recounts the adventures of 18-year-old d'Artagnan ( Chad Hoeppner) who arrives in Paris planning to join the king's musketeers. To his disappointment, he fails to enlist, but he befriends the three musketeers of the title: Arthos (Timothy Carter), Aramis (David Foubert) and Porthos (Cedric Hayman).
In a bond formed through wine, women, song and a few bloody sword fights, d'Artagnan and the "all for one" crew embark on a secret mission to England at the behest of d'Artagnan's lover, Constance (Megan McQuillan) . They battle treasonous agents and rescue a maiden or two, all the while avoiding the clutches of an elusive assassin, Milady de Winter (Kaitlin O'Neal).
As he draws from the influences surrounding him, d'Artagnan strives to find his role in life. His internal conflicts are paralleled by the period's political upheavals, as the weak King Louis XIII ( Henry Vick) battles his main adviser, Cardinal Richelieu (Matt Bradford Sullivan), for control of France.
However, the political machinations are but a backdrop to this adaptation, according to Spencer Aste, who plays Richelieu's henchman, Rochefort.
"Primarily, it is the story of an eager, nave, passionate young man coming in search of the meaning of life. D'Artagnan finds what it means to have honor, courage and passion, and to be able to use those things in a way that is productive and helpful," says Aste, a graduate of the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver.
Aste, 40, has been a member of The Acting Company for three seasons. Formed in 1972 by actor/director John Houseman and producing artistic director Margot Harley, the Company counts movie star Kevin Kline and Frances Conroy of "Six Feet Under" among its 300 alumni.
Its productions are known for showcasing both talented actors and rousing interpretations, and Aste says this one, with its thrilling sword fights, is no exception. Felix Ivanov, stage combat teacher at The Julliard School, choreographed the battles, which director Casey Biggs updates for the video-game age by setting to rock music.
"There are some great fights," Aste says. "They are wonderful to watch. Some are comic, and others very tragic and dramatic."
Comedy, tragedy and drama combined with sword fights and rock music; The Three Musketeers looks to provide a complex tale with enough action and excitement to stir your inner gallant or belle.
The Three Musketeers
Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater, 3955 Cragwood Drive
Wednesday-Friday, April 19-21, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 23, 4 p.m.
Tickets: $28 for adults, $15 for 16-and-under; call 262-3232 or visit uccstheatreworks.com.
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