The legend of Robin Hood has persisted through several centuries of Western folklore. Yet it took on a new form this November when Kevin Whewell, Broadneck High School’s theater director, chose an adaptation of the story for the school’s play prior to Thanksgiving break.
Whewell had various reasons for selecting “Marian, Or The True Tale of Robin Hood,” such as its focus on a female-centric cast instead of a male-centric cast. But chief among those reasons was the opportunity that the play presented for his actors to showcase several new skills.
“It has a number of skills that I haven’t been able to work with my students, like stage combat and physicality,” Whewell said. “I also wanted to switch it up and try different styles and techniques.”
The play, which ran from November 16-18, tells the classic story of Robin Hood with an added comedic twist. In the play, Robin Hood is the secret alter-ego of Maid Marian, a woman who leads a ragtag band of outlaws, known as Merry Men, against injustices committed by Prince John, the primary antagonist of the story.
“It’s an incredibly loose interpretation of the story of Robin Hood,” Whewell said. “There’s a lot of turning tropes on their head and seeing what would happen if certain elements of the story were different.”
The play begins with an archery competition. Alana Dale finishes second to an old man, who is then discovered to be Robin Hood and promptly arrested. After Robin Hood is rescued by Dale, he reveals himself as Maid Marian in disguise and recruits Dale to join the Merry Men. Throughout the rest of the play, the Merry Men attempt to deal with the complex relationships forming between members of the group, while simultaneously trying to fight against the tyranny of Prince John. At the conclusion of the play, Marian dies in battle and Dale fills her role as Robin Hood for future generations to come.
Broadneck’s adaptation starred Ari Chamberlain as Dale, Castor Bryant as Marian/Robin Hood, and Brayden McDowell as Prince John.
The play’s theatrical run was the culmination of several months of work put in at rehearsals, as well as a grueling tech week from November 4-15. Tech week often consisted of up to six hours of rehearsal per day, with cast members expected to stay until 9:00pm after school.
While getting into character can often present a challenge for some actors, Broadneck’s talented cast was up to the task, as the students often rehearsed lines together to get in the right mindset to portray their characters.
“We all have similar ways of getting into character. Once you memorize your lines, it’s a pretty simple process,” stated Magen Evers, a senior on the cast.
Evers played the role of Sir Lenny the Observant, a royal assistant to Prince John. She also served as the head of costumes for the play, and emphasized how visualizing her costume helped her fully capture the character.
Whewell didn’t expect audiences to be overwhelmed by the themes presented in the show, as his primary intention was to provide a light and entertaining show for those who attended, with occasional thematic messaging sprinkled in. However, he added that he hoped the show would cause the audience to question the importance of traditional gender roles.
When asked what she hoped for audiences to take away from the play, Evers recalled her first experience watching a play.
“I remember seeing how much fun the experience was, and I immediately decided I wanted to get into theater,” she said. “I hope that this play (had) a similar effect on the people that come to see it.”
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here