Three generations of notorious Dumas appear in this swashbucking play filled with tales of war, sword fights, masked balls, and romantic escapades. General Thomas Dumas, the son of a French aristocrat and a black servant woman, was one of Napoleon’s most prized generals. After suspecting Napoleon of being self-centered and covetous, the French-African General was denounced by Napoleon, branded a defector, disavowed, and consequently died penniless. Years later, his son, Alexander Dumas père, author of The Three Musketeers, lives a life as daring and full of intrigue as the characters in his own plays and novels. While père indulges in scandalous intrigue and occasional debauchery, his son, Alexander Dumas fils, struggles to come to terms with his father’s apparent immoral lifestyle, his own racial heritage, and rumors of his grandfather’s defection. Dumas fils’ conflict is complicated further when a mysterious slanderer defames Dumas père’s literary integrity as well as his African heritage. To satisfy his son, Dumas père challenges the mysterious slanderer to a duel at a masquerade ball where the three Dumas meet and the true identities of all are revealed.
Marion Garmel, Arts Editor of the Indianapolis Star, wrote “ . . . some of the best speeches this side of Shakespeare . . . Smith’s trump card is his ability to understand the psychology that drives both men, the childish father and the moralistic son, while putting them in a colorful story.” Les Trois Dumas was American Theatre magazine’s Editor’s Choice for April 1998.
Les Trois Dumas is available through Dramatic Publishing.
Original first drafts, intermediate drafts, final and/or published drafts of this play are part of the DePaul University Library’s Special Collections Archives Division, 2000.
6 men (2 African American, 4 Caucasian)
3 women (3 Caucasian)
Unit Set, various locations.
Approximate running time:
2 hours, 40 minutes (Three Acts)