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Swashbuckling Fills the Stage at Blair’s 'The Three Musketeers'

The production features nearly 30 student-actors and highlights elaborate costumes and fight scenes.

By Rob Koenig

Instead of going to the movies for lively musketeer action, there’s a new option this week for families who like to see swashbuckling sword fights on stage:

The stage adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ classic French tale features a half dozen fight scenes — including a 13-person brawl that fills the high school stage – as well as a compelling plot, courtly dances, beautiful costumes and a stunning stage set.

“You came to see swashbuckling? This will knock you for a loop!” said Blair Theatre director, Kelly Newman O’Connor.

The lavish production, which premieres on Friday, Nov. 4, features nearly 30 talented actors from Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring. Its secret weapon — for the swordfight scenes, at least — is professional fight director Casey Kaleba, who has helped choreograph fights for more than 200 academic and professional productions.

Kaleba said that Blair’s Musketeers is one of his most challenging tasks. “Very few professional theatres in the DC area could even tackle such a large fight scene,” he said. “The time required, training necessary, and simply the size of the stage make the show an enormous undertaking.”

Making use of 18 swords and numerous muskets, the Blair actors tell the tale of the musketeers — “All for one, and one for all!” — with aplomb. “There are about a half dozen fights of varying sizes in the show: quick skirmishes, friendly exchanges, and at least one 13-person stage-filling brawl,” Kaleba said.

“Almost the entire cast [of about 30 students] fights at varying times, although the standout sequence in the show is the fight between the Musketeers and the Cardinal's Guards,” he added. “We have 12 actors wielding swords across the entire stage, and through the final sequence of the fight we have D'Artagnan's sister weaving her way around and amongst the various fights.”

Working with set designer John O’Connor, students have recreated the world of 18th century Paris with dramatic scenery and beautiful costumes of capes and gowns. Aside from the three musketeers and the young musketeer wanna-be D’Artagnan, the cast includes the devious Cardinal Richelieu, King Louis XIII of France and Queen Anne, and numerous other characters brought to life by the high school actors.

And the action is appropriate for all age groups. Fun for the whole family!

Performances: Nov. 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $10 for adults and $7 for students and senior citizens. Tickets can be purchased at the Blair School office, online at www.brownpapertickets.com, or at the door. (A service charge per ticket applies to online purchases.)

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