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Three Musketeers on their way to Whistler

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Three Musketeers on their way to Whistler

Whistler Question April 26, 2012

DuffleBag Theatre revives classic tale for new audiences
CHRISTOPHER POON / STAFF WRITER

It’s the famed motto of the Three Musketeers: All for one and one for all. But it could just as easily apply to DuffleBag Theatre.

That’s because the whole concept of the traveling theatre act is telling an exciting and engaging story through audience interaction. When DuffleBag Theatre makes its return to Whistler this weekend it will be to perform its own spin on the classic tale of travel and adventure.

“We love the Three Musketeers as a classic story. The original Alexandre Dumas story is so full of adventure, swords, espionage and heroes and so we thought it would be really fun to do that in an interactive theatre version, starring members of the audience,” said Marcus Lundgren, DuffleBag’s artistic director.
“We look for stories that our audiences are going to know at least the basics of – that way they’re in on the jokes that we change or the plot lines that are slightly different than what the original is.”

According to Lundgren, DuffleBag Theatre is always looking for new and exciting stories to bring to the stage. Following the excitement of last year’s performance of Rumpelstiltskin, he was looking for something even more thrilling.

“The Three Musketeers is one of our newer stories and it’s one that we’re really enjoying,” explained Lundgren. “It’s been in our repertoire for a short amount of time but it’s quickly become a fan favourite.”

But before Lundgren and the other DuffleBag performers were able to put on the show, they first had to take the classic tale and make it fit with their own unique style.

“One of the challenges is that we have swords,” said Lundgren. “The first thing you think about with the Three Musketeers is all of that fencing, that swordplay, so we wanted to figure out how to do that safely with our actors without them having any sort of training in fighting.”

On top of that, Lundgren said that with a story as dense as the one Dumas had originally created, it was imperative to find some way to shrink it into something that was able to be performed on stage.

“There’s also so much to the novel and we had to figure out how to pare it away and make it a shorter, more accessible version for young people. I think we did a pretty good job of that,” said Lundgren. “With the main characters, it was all about defining their plot lines and we’ve kept it easy to tell who the bad guy is and who the good guy is, and so the audience knows to cheer the hero and boo the bad guy.

“We tried to make it as simplified as possible without losing the nuances that the adults would enjoy as well.”

But once the story is adapted into DuffleBag’s style, that doesn’t mean it stays the same during every performance.

“One of the joys of what we do is that we have so much improvisation involved that when something unexpected but funny happens in the show, it might be something we’ll keep for the next show and build on it,” he explained. “So we benefit from each and every show in that we can tweak things that we pick up along the way. It really takes the show into a different direction with extra dialogue and bits we weren’t expecting, and so they give us fresh ideas all the time.”

DuffleBag Theatre returns to Whistler on Saturday (April 28) with the Three Musketeers. The show takes place at Millennium Place and will begin at 6:30 p.m., but children are invited to a special crown- and sword-making workshop prior to the show at 5:15 p.m. Tickets for the show are $21 for adults, $10 for children and $16 for seniors/students and Whistler Arts Council members. They can be purchased at www.artswhistler.com or at Millennium Place.

“We always have a great time up in Whistler and we hope that this time is no different,” said Lundgren. “We try to have as much fun as possible and want the audience to share in that.”

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