Ready, set, en garde!
A Harlem theater company will be playing their adaption of the popular Alexandre Dumas action novel, “The Three Musketeers,” from July 11-30. The Classic Theatre of Harlem is having a free nightly outdoor showing of the classic play at Marcus Garvey Park. And in this revival, the company is not only bringing a favored story back into the spotlight, but is also honoring the literary work of a Caribbean man whose background is typically disregarded, said the artistic director of the company.
“One of the things I’m proud of about this show — I feel that the way we present this piece a way that Dumas would be proud of,” said Ty Jones. “A lot of people don’t know that he was Haitian and we are celebrating him just like we do with the Shakespeare’s, the Sheridan’s, and the Shaw’s.”
He adds that Dumas’ work shines light on the presence of people of color in the classic novel age, despite the lack of awareness about who he was.
“What better way to raise the profile of a man of color who is oftentimes overlooked in terms of impact,” he said. “This was the man who also wrote “The Count of Monte Cristo” and from our perspective, he did a lot of great work that was intellectually compelling and we want to create a conversation with the audience.”
The 90-minute play does not have much changes to the original story, but the plot remains relevant to the times and sheds light to current social issues and where society should be heading, said Jones.
“We bring a little levity to the musketeers and we have fun with it,” he said. “There’s a reason why the statement all for one and one for all resonates now — folks of different backgrounds need to see how much we do have in common, and strategize and create contention and execute a world that we want to see.”
In this adaption, the theatre plays up Dumas’ Caribbean heritage in an admiring form towards his background.
“What we did was blend the elements of the Diaspora, not to be an imitation, but to have a Caribbean flavor to it and paying homage to that,” said Jones.
“We want folks to walk away not just saying lighting and the music great, but world and what we live, I write my plays, impacted by decision made by the ruling class, classic plays are commentary on ruling class and with this particular play, ppl from diff background like the musketeers were different but despite those differences they came together to fight against the forces that are interested in exploiting people.”
“If you love the musketeers, a little romance, swordplay, the play is fun, we took some liberty in adding some comedic stuff and you will walk away with smile,” he said.
And the best part is that show is free. The month-long showing is welcoming the families and kids to enjoy the tale
The choice to make the showing free was intentional and a realistic opportunity for the community to just enjoy a summer show.
“I actually believe a lot of drama and arts is creative from is from one’s community and one’s connection to the world,” said Jones. “Theater is a business but at end of the day I’m highly aware of the limited access that people of color have, and the last thing I want to do is take very people who helped me in my career and abandon them.”
“The Three Musketeers” at Marcus Garvey Park [Madison Ave. between E. 120th and E. 124th streets in Harlem, (347) 688-6304, www.ctnyc.org]. July 11–30, 8–10 pm. Free.