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The Three Musketeers

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Jared Kirby
August 19, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Fight Director.

What is your show about?
The Three Musketeers in a new adaptation by Susane Lee and directed by Nicholas Martin-Smith.

What type of theater do you like most to work on?
I like to work on the violence for projects that will engage the audience in a way which whisks them away for 2 hours. Whether that is a hilarious romp or a gut-wrenching drama, I work with the cast and crew to make sure the violence evokes a visceral reaction in the audience. By focusing on how violence can enhance the story and reveal more about the characters we can create seamless moments of violence that serve the play.

Who is more important in the theater: the actor, the playwright, or the director?
The playwright is first, closely followed by the director. When I come into a project the first thing I look at is the story that the playwright is telling and then I find out how the director intends to bring this story to life. Then I can come up with ideas for moments of violence that will tell that particular story. The actor is a crucial part of that because I have to make certain that the violence is harmonious with that performer's version of the character. This must all come together in a collaborative process so really everyone is crucial to make that happen.

Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
It's Three Musketeers! Every fight director wants to work on that! This one in particular is very important to me because Susane Lee (who adapted the script) and Nicholas Martin-Smith (the director) made sure there were a lot of moments of violence. There are a ton of fights and when we got them all done, we added another. This gave me the opportunity to really showcase each of the Musketeer's character through his fighting style so the fights are not only an exciting part of the show, but reveal the characters to you as well. Also, I love working with Hudson Warehouse; they cast intelligent actors who make smart choices.

Which famous person would you most like to get a fan letter from: Denzel Washington, Maggie Smith, Ang Lee, Audra McDonald?
From this list, Denzel Washington. He did my favorite version of Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing!

If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
I would spend one million on ten productions. Each would have enough fight rehearsal time to make certain that the fights are interwoven as a seamless part of telling the tale. Moreover I would pick a variety of shows that I often see many missed opportunities to use violence to help tell the story. For example, I often get hired to do the fight at the end of Hamlet. That's the only moment most people think you need a fight director for. There are many other moments though that I need to work on. The physical restraint of Hamlet when he see's the ghost the first time. Ophelia & Hamlet in the Nunnery scene to make sure the audience feels the pain Hamlet is enduring and the fear Ophelia has. It is also crucial that I work on the closet scene with Gertrude and Hamlet. We have to make sure that when Gertrude says "what, wilt thou murder me?" the scene has escalated to a point where a mother can honestly fear that her son will murder her. So I would like to see ten shows performed that really explore how violence (physical and psychological) can really bring the show to a whole other level.