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Robin Hood... with a comedic twist

It's hard to be humble when you're a "swashbuckling, egocentric super-hero."

Jared Haley as Robin Hood will try his best as he swaggers through The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood, "a frantically funny, Monty Pythonesque re-telling of the Robin Hood classic," says one review, written by Mary Lynn Dobson, and performed by Tillsonburg Teen Theatre at the Otter Valley Playhouse on Potters Road, August 21-24.

"It is pretty funny," said Teen Theatre director Sarah Sandor. "A lot of the lines are pretty witty. It's entertaining, not cheesy. And the plotline is a bit intricate, so it's a lot more complex than a simple play."

The traditional Robin Hood tale and its main characters are generally known, but Dobson's play adds Mel Brooks/Monty Python type twists.

"The script describes it as kind of a (Mel Brooks) Men In Tights type idea," said Sandor. "It makes fun of the story – a lot of people know the story, they know the characters – while still keeping with the original story, which makes it fun."

And while Robin Hood swaggers and Steven Dodd's Prince John is 'booed and hissed', the actors are occasionally add their own improv.

"I think comedy is easier for teenagers because I found a lot of people are adding stuff in, with the way they say lines or the way that they do the motions," said Sandor. "People like to have fun and there are a lot of people in the show who are pretty funny. So just having them add their own thing, it's easier to make it funny."

Teen Theatre's Thursday, Friday and Saturday night performances (August 21-23) start at 7 p.m. On Sunday, August 24, the matinee is at 2 p.m. General admission tickets are $10 each. Contact the Theatre Tillsonburg box office at 519-688-3026 for tickets or stop by the Station Arts Centre on Bridge Street.

Auditions for Teen Theatre's 2014 production were held in early June, and their first rehearsal followed later that month.

"Definitely we're ready," Sandor smiled during rehearsal Tuesday night. "Everyone's been pretty good about getting their lines down. I don't feel any pressure like 'oh no it's not going to be ready for opening night.' It will be ready."

Costumes are very traditional, said Sandor.

"I was actually very surprised the theatre had a lot of medieval dresses for the girls. All the Merry Men are in the typical 'Robin Hood' costumes."

A total of 18-20 teens are involved in the 2014 production, including backstage workers.

"We have all the actors, who have been rehearsing, and then we also have a whole backstage crew of five or six people who have been painting every week."

There will be a few new teens on stage this year, but most are returning from last year's successful Wizard of Oz.

"We did Grease at Glendale and about half the people are from Grease as well," said Sandor. "I thought that was cool. We've all kind of been working together since the spring."

The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood plot, in brief, which is suitable for all ages, goes something like this... 'This time around, the legendary legend, in his never-ending quest to aid the needy, encounters a lovely damsel-in-distress; an ever-scheming sheriff who would rather bowl a strike than hit a bull's-eye; a gold-hoarding, bad-guy monarch wannabe; and a good-natured "Town's Gal" who manages to make her way into every scene, whether she belongs there or not. Combine them with an expandable band of spoon-wielding Merry Men whose collective IQs equal six, and you've got an irreverent jaunt through Sherwood Forest you won't soon forget!

'Robin, with the help of a Merry Man wannabe simply known as the Town's Gal, turns this once-simple legend into a hysterical trip through Sherwood Forest with surprises at every turn. Our charming but egotistical hero leads his band of familiar wood-dwellers as they battle the delectably evil Prince John and his haughty henchman, the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robin's one and only true love, the Lady Marian, remains true to her champion as she assists his crusade. Incredibly, our model good-guy Robin discovers that even heroes have a few important life lessons to learn.'

One of the biggest challenges, said Sandor, is the movement in set changes.

"Set changes happen with the curtain open, so they all have to be part of the show. So coordinating who has to stand where, who has to move what, and making all the sets turn at the right time and appear to be part of the show... that's definitely the hardest.

"And a lot of the scenes, the whole cast or a large portion of the cast are on stage, so we have to make sure everyone is in the right spot and no one is blocking someone else."

The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood

By Mary Lynn Dobson

Director - Sarah Sandor

Cast

Katie McCoy - Town's Gal

Jared Haley - Robin Hood

Allyson Buchanan - Lady Marian

Steven Pihokker - Sheriff of Nottingham

Steven Dodd (Prince John)

Merry Men: Nathan Charby, Rebecca McNeil, Nadia Fardella, Haley McLean, Alyssa Wice, Elizabeth Shearer

Ladies: Emma Dans, Savannah Mercer, Emma Martens, Caleigh Foster

Crew: Miranda Harrison (stage manager), Jordan Harrison, Evan Buchanan, Sephora Sandor, Emma Cox, Jeremy Hamm, Logan Gibson, Taea Davis, Vicky Steer.

 

IF YOU GO

Dates: August 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th

Times: 7 p.m. (August 21-23), 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, August 24th

Cost: $10 general admission.

chris.abbott@sunmedia.ca

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