HARLEM — D'Artagnan and the swashbuckling trio of Athos, Porthos and Aramis will perform daring duels and embark on exhilarating expeditions in Harlem this summer — with the current political climate acting as their inspiration.
The Classical Theatre of Harlem is ditching Shakespearean dramas for its fifth-annual theatrical production at the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park next month, instead putting its spin on Alexandre Dumas’ famed 19th century novel “The Three Musketeers.”
Ty Jones, the organization’s producing artistic director, said taking on Dumas’ work was intentional, given the current political climate.
"Last year, we chose to do Macbeth because I believe that it’s Shakespeare's most politically significant play, and we are living in politically significant times,” he said in a statement.
“The unrest following the (2016) election has now escalated, and the current social climate has our entire political system under indictment. A new majority must be forged, one where the pursuit of ethical truths and the recognition of our shared humanity outweighs our appetite for hyper-individualism and status.”
The novel centers around d'Artagnan, who longs to join the Musketeers, and the trio going on a precarious and action-packed journey to defend the honor of a king and queen against a villainous Cardinal who directs his agents to carry out an intricate plan to sabotage the queen and undermine the king’s power, the organization said.
Jones said the characters in the play are forced to put aside their differences and “forge an alliance to combat the reprobate behavior of those in the ruling class.”
“‘All for one and one for all’ is a call to action that resonates now more than ever," he added, referring to the trio's classic catchphrase.
Last year, the organization’s production of Macbeth was almost struck down by a legendary curse — which theater fans blame on Shakespeare using real black magic in the opening lines uttered by its three witches. Superstition around the play is so strong that even mentioning its name in a theater is believed to invite disaster.
In years past, the company has also produced Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” “A Midsummer Night's Dream,” and “Romeo and Juliet."
The play is slated to open for previews on Friday, July 7, at 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 8, at 8 p.m. at 124th Street and Fifth Avenue. Opening night is slated for Sunday, July 11, at 8 p.m.
It is expected to run until Sunday, July 30, with performances at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays through Sundays and 8:30 p.m. on Friday.
All performances are free and open to the public.