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Duellists: The Forgotten Champions
Duellists, which was devised by fight choreographers Joseph Travers and Rod Kinter, traces the history of the duel from 16th century France right up to the present day. (It will probably surprise you to learn that the last known recorded duel happened just 40 years ago in Paris.) In eight original one-act plays, written by Messrs. Travers and Kinter with J.R. Robinson and Ricki G. Ravitts, we watch men and women do battle to defend their honor (or that of those whom they hold most dear). Some of the plays are broad, even comic, in tone, such as "Wilhelm the Jew," in which a lone Jewish visitor to a Zurich tavern fends off the insults of a band of six barbaric warriors. Others are more traditionally romantic, like the exciting adventure of young d'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers that closes Act One, or the startling and unusual story of Mademoiselle Maupin, an actress who finds herself dueling with three men at once, which begins Act Two. And some are reflective and sad, like the tragic "Duel of the Handkerchief" in which an argument between two good friends escalates irreversibly into a battle to the death, as their horrified comrades look on helplessly. It is in this piece, especially, that the double-edged theme of Duellists is most clearly seen: We admire these brave and gallant men and women who valued things like truth and integrity so highly that they were willing to die for them. But we mourn the tragic waste of human life that was necessarily the by-product of such nobility.
eight original one-act plays, written by Joseph Travers, Rod Kinter with J.R. Robinson And Ricki G. Ravitts
Theater Ten Ten, New York 1998
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