Founded in 2007, the group is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a production of The Three Musketeers, a story of heroism, treachery, close escapes and honour. The Three Musketeers is slated to take the stage at Moncton’s Empress Theatre starting Thursday and continuing through Saturday.
Hub City Theatre’s artistic director and founder Robin Oxley says that they launched Hub City Theatre in 2007 due to a distinct lack of independent theatrical outlets in Metro Moncton.
“Many of us involved with Hub City Theatre were all theatre students ourselves and found that while there are a lot of performers and artists in the Moncton area, there wasn’t a lot of outlets for theatre,” Robin says. “There are plenty of productions put on by area high schools, which is fantastic, but a big part of what inspired us to start Hub City was that there wasn’t a whole lot after high school productions. We are trying to bridge that gap.”
After successfully staging productions including The Tragedy of Macbeth in 2011, Romeo and Juliet in 2010 and Taming of the Shrew in 2007, Oxley says that the group’s decision to go with The Three Musketeers was born out of a desire to insert some lighter fare into the theatre group’s repertoire.
“The last two or three productions that we have put on have been tragedies and tend to be more thought-provoking productions. The Three Musketeers is more family friendly and a fun, exciting production to be staging. That was the main thrust going with this specific production this time.”
Of course, what would The Three Musketeers be without a generous helping of swordplay? Robin says that to put on the production they wanted to, it was necessary to have 10 of the production’s 16 actors trained in fencing. He admits that in addition to actors needing to learn their lines, picking up the necessary skills to stage an effective sword fight was an extra challenge to the group.
Marc Landry is a member of the Moncton Fencing Club who was charged with preparing the actors in The Three Musketeers for their sword fighting scenes. Marc has been participating in fencing for 12 years now, and was inspired to take up the sport after researching it in his Grade 9 English class. Marc competed in the Canada Games in 2003 and while he devotes the majority of his time to coaching others in the art of fencing, he still takes part in one or two competitions each year.
“My responsibility was to take them from zero to having a good understanding of the dynamics and form of the sport,” Marc says of the cast. “I was showing them everything from how to move to how to position their hands and how to defend themselves. Over the nights that I rehearsed with the group, we ensured that everyone had the chance to suit up with full gear and masks while I offered them feedback on their form and how to perhaps make it more ‘flashy’ for the stage.”
Although preparations to stage The Three Musketeers has been a little more in-depth compared to previous productions, Robin is confident that audiences will love the end result.
“We have definitely come a long way. I have been very pleased to see the way that the actors and the show have been maturing. With community theatre, people can’t always put in the time and effort needed to stage a production like this, however as we draw to the end and our first shows, we can look back upon the experience and just marvel at the way everyone has grown into their skills. Those involved with the play will definitely be bringing their all to the stage.”
Article published in January 30, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript