A swashbuckling tale

North Hennepin Community College highlights stage combat program with ‘The Three Musketeers’

Actors at North Hennepin Community College will strap on their swords and invite families to join them on a swashbuckling adventure as they present “The Three Musketeers.”

The play, based on the story by Alexandre Dumas and adapted for stage by Ken Ludwig, opens Friday, Oct. 26. The play follows the story of young d’Artagnan, who leaves home to go to Paris in search of adventure, accompanied by his sister, Sabine.

D’Artagnan, right, played Alex Bruno of Maple Grove, fights one of the Cardinal’s guards, played by Paul Icenogle of Brooklyn Park, during a rehearsal of “The Three Musketeers” at North Hennepin Community College Oct. 17. (Photo by Jonathan Young)

D’Artagnan, right, played Alex Bruno of Maple Grove, fights one of the Cardinal’s guards, played by Paul Icenogle of Brooklyn Park, during a rehearsal of “The Three Musketeers” at North Hennepin Community College Oct. 17. (Photo by Jonathan Young)

The production showcases the stage combat program the college launched last year with certified stage combat instructor Mike Anderson. The program trains actors to pass the rigorous skills test administered by the Society of American Fight Directors.

According to North Hennepin’s theater director Mike Ricci, Anderson is the only certified instructor in Minnesota. He regularly works at the Guthrie and has worked on many films.

“He’s in demand,” Ricci said. “He goes all over. He’s known throughout the country for his work.”

Anderson choreographed all the fight scenes for Ricci’s production of “The Three Musketeers.” And there are a lot of fights — well over a dozen, Ricci said.

Mark Stewart of Elk River, who plays Aramis the musketeer, completed the stage combat course last year and passed the skills exam. He said the fights in this show won’t be like what you might see in a high school play.

“I think it might be a little surprising what we can do on stage,” he said.

Carter Roeske of Maple Grove, who plays several characters, agreed.

“Honestly, I don’t think (the audience will) know what hit them,” he said.

With all the fight scenes and a cast of 30 characters played by 19 actors, the play presents a challenge usually more suited to a four-year college, Ricci said. But he felt his team could pull it off successfully.

As if that weren’t enough, Ricci brought in composer Alex Mauldin to write an original score for the production in only one week.

Mauldin has composed scores for two feature films and many short films. But he has also worked with Ricci on theater productions for 20 years.

Mauldin said the score will be a traditional, orchestral piece to emphasize the fights and add subtle emotion to other scenes without drowning out actors. He described it as “a big, blockbuster-movie-type score.”

That’s appropriate, because Ricci aims to make the play feel like a movie — except live.

Ricci said “The Three Musketeers” is entertaining and appropriate for families with children. He expects audiences will enjoy the story, which deals with “trying to right what’s wrong by standing up for what you believe.” The musketeers were like the superheroes of their day, he said.

Audience members will also have a chance to help right what’s wrong by bringing donations for the food cupboard North Hennepin recently started for its students who need a little extra help. Collection bins will be in the theater lobby.

 

If you go:

What: “The Three Musketeers.”

When: Friday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 28 at 2 p.m.; Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 2 p.m.; Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Fine Arts Building at North Hennepin Community College, 7411 85th Ave. N., Brooklyn Park.

Cost: $8 for adults, $5 for seniors, students and children. Matinee tickets cost $5. Tickets are available in advance online or at the door about 30 minutes prior to each performance.

Info: nhcc.edu/events.

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