BWW Review: The Female Heroines You Didn't Know You Needed in THREE MUSKETEERS: 1941
Megan Monaghan Rivas' Three Musketeers: 1941 is an evocative, thought-provoking new work that is imperative in today's political climate. The commissioned world premiere of this play promises an evening of strength, empowerment, and emotion. Three Musketeers: 1941 is a part of Project Y Theatre's fourth annual four-week long Women in Theatre Festival, celebrating new plays and innovative performances by diverse female artists.
This reimagined take on The Three Musketeers is set in occupied Paris, France during World War II. While French police pander to Nazi occupiers, five brave women in a secret room strive to maintain hope for themselves and their beloved Paris. The arrival of two mysterious strangers sets of a chain of events that strengthen the bond of the young women and have audiences on the edge of their seats by the end of the play.
Minimally staged in a small black-box theatre at the A.R.T./New York Theatres, audiences get an up-close and personal experience. While this space could prove challenging to actors because the audience surrounds them on two sides, the performers tactfully use the space to their advantage. Never once did the audience feel left out or detached from the story.
The script is very poignant, and the characters were far from cliches. The five central women, D'Artagnan (Essense Stiggers), Athos (Ella Dershowitz), Porthos (Kate Margalite), Aramis (Ashley Bufkin), and Planchet (Christina Liang), each had distinctive, complex personalities. As the play progresses, each woman reveals their backstory through well-written dialogue. This show showcases the female figures audiences desire to see represented in both our world and in creative content: clever, smart, strong, and multi-faceted. It wasn't just the writing that helped bring these characters to life; it's the incredibly talented young women who portray them. Stiggers, Dershowitz, Margalite, Bufkin, and Liang committed their all to these roles and the nuances to their personalities. Joleen Wilkinson is lovely and poised as Treville, and her moving performance is a highlight of the show. Helen Farmer as Milady is cunning and sharp, keeping the audience guessing throughout the show. Both Zack Calhoon as Richelieu and Javan Nelson as Rochefort, along with Valentino Musumeci and Cole Merrell, deliver intimidating and fierce performances.
With a fast-paced plot and empowering message, Three Musketeers: 1941 is a must-see. It is more important than ever to tell strong stories about women, by women, and for women- and the Women In Theatre festival does exactly that. Three Musketeers: 1941 will have you chanting "all for one, and one for all!"
Performances will continue Sunday, June 9 at 2pm, Friday, June 14 at 7:30pm, Saturday, June 15 at 7:30pm, Sunday, June 16 at 2pm, Friday, June 21 at 7:30pm, Tuesday, June 25 at 7:30pm, Thursday, June 27 at 7:30pm, Friday, June 28 at 7:30pm, and Saturday, June 29 at 7:30pm. Tickets ($27) are available for advance purchase at https://witfestival.brownpapertickets.com or by calling 1-800-838-3006.
Photos by ClintonBPhotography