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Monday, April 22, 2024
Students practicing for a production of the Three Musketeers at Buchholz High School on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024.
Students practicing for a production of the Three Musketeers at Buchholz High School on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024.

The ringing clangs of swashbuckling sword fights resounded loudly in Buchholz High School’s auditorium at a midweek evening rehearsal. In front of a white-columned set piece, two pajama-clad teens duel with careful choreography, jousting silver swords and dodging calculated swings.

Normally, the idea of teenagers swinging weapons at each other would be a cause for concern. But as members of Troupe 1452 wait in the wings to practice their next scene, it's a familiar and unalarming sight. 

The theater troupe has been rehearsing since January for its Spring production of “The Three Musketeers” by French playwright Alexandre Dumas, set to run eight performances Feb. 29 to March 9. 

The story follows young D’Artagnan, played by 16-year-old sophomore Gustavo Meucci, as he heads into Paris with dreams of becoming a musketeer. Co-director and Buchholz junior Allison Barton aimed to add a comedic tone to the historic tale without forfeiting the thrill of action-packed battle sequences.

“Giving a bunch of your peers swords is kind of terrifying,” said 16-year-old Barton. 

Directing alongside 16-year-old Patrick Bethel, the two have tackled almost every aspect of the show from start to finish — judging auditions, setting up scenes, creating flyers and ensuring actors are up to date on their lines. 

The fight choreography was left to Ted Lewis, a Buchholz theater instructor of 23 years, and his former student, Sienna Curcio. 

Lewis is one of the founding members of Thieves Guilde, a medieval re-enactment group well-known for their premiere showcase at the annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire

Though he’s no longer a part of the group, he said his combat skills remain in good shape. 

“You have to be careful and convincingly fast at the same time,” Lewis said. 

He was trained by the Society of American Fight Directors and is the only high school teacher in Florida who is allowed to teach fight choreography as part of the curriculum, Lewis said. 

While he handles the combat, he said he takes pride in seeing his students handle a production by themselves.

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“Nothing makes a theater teacher prouder,” Lewis said, “when you can step back and say, ‘Take it,’ and then they do it.”

Barton and Bethel are enjoying their heightened responsibilities, even if it means long rehearsal times and lots of on-the-spot decision-making.

“For the most part [Lewis] just lets us put our creativity out on what we do,” Bethel said.  “And if it’s not perfect … he’ll let us know.”

The show will run evening performances at 7 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. After a brief two-day hiatus, “The Three Musketeers” will resume at Buchholz High School auditorium — 5510 NW 27th Ave. — March 6 to March 9 at 7 p.m. 

Contact Bonny Matejowsky at Follow her on X

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Bonny Matejowsky

Bonny Matejowsky is a third-year journalism major and a Fall 2023 Avenue Reporter. When she’s not writing, you can find her thrifting or watching Twin Peaks.

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