Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Heigh Ho, Robin Hood!

What fun we had doing this musical!

To start with, I love the story.  When I was in elementary school, I read Howard Pyle's The Merry Adventures in Robin Hood and fantasized about speaking the King's English and being a castaway with the Merry Band!  Will Scarlet, Little John and Allan-a-Dale were like big brothers, in my imagination.

When we first started in theater, Robin Hood was our first show, so the musical version has always held a special place in my heart.  Blondechick was just 12 years old, and she was a Maiden.  B16 was then B9, and I couldn't talk him into auditioning.  But he ushered and watched all 6 shows, and by the end of the run, he was ready to try out for the next one.

So I was thrilled when I heard that our new theater group in Kenosha was going to do Robin Hood!  To my delight, even B16 decided to audition.  Turns out he always thought Little John looked like a fun role, and he had the height and the voice for it, so he worked hard to convince the directors that he could do the part.  And he certainly pulled it off, winning a Screwball Award for his comedic performance...that kept getting funnier every show!

It's sword-fighting and adventure that makes Robin Hood so different from other shows.

The Sheriff's soldiers surround Robin, Little John, Will Scarlet and Friar Tuck.

While Robin Hood battles the Sheriff of Nottingham...

Little John takes on Kaspar, the Sheriff's henchman (who did not have a green t-shirt showing during actual performances!).  Their battle ends with them holding each other at swordpoint, and each show, they became more menacing and mocking of each other after they had dropped their swords.  Finally, one night Little John ended it by turning away, brushing his hair off his forehead as he did so, to the delighted amusement of the naturally the "hair flip" stayed for the last two performances.

See Bantam12 in the middle there? (Wearing socks, because his boot laces were being fixed during this dress rehearsal.)   He got compliments on his great facial expressions, like the one above (click to enlarge)--during this slow-motion epic action scene.  So other boys began to work on their facial expressions, including his brother, who decided that Little John concentrates on his fighting the way Michael Jordan does on making a basket--with his tongue pushing out of his mouth!  Audience members loved it, so every show the tongue went further and further out of the mouth--and from side-to-side too--in slow-motion.

One other funny moment happened during the slow-motion scene, when Little John and Kaspar swing their swords toward each other and hit at the top of their arc...but in one performance they missed! In slow motion!  "It was an epic FAIL," they joked afterwards.

But the best scene was when Robin Hood and Little John dress up like gypsy women to distract Prince John while the Merry Band robs him blind.

B16 had to speak up high, sing in his head voice and dance in a dress.  He did it all with lots of high-pitched laughter and without a trace of self-consciousness.  We were so proud of him!

"Listen, listen to the gypsy will put you in a gypsy trance...."

The scene ended with the gypsy dancers stripping the entranced and dancing Prince John of his royal robes.  Here's when he "comes to."

"Guards!  Bring me a royal covering!"

Lots more to come--B12 and Chicklet8 got to do lots of fun stuff in this show too!  But I was especially proud of B16 for the way he embraced his role like he's never done before.  He says he's not interested in any of the shows they are doing next year and it would take a special show for him to invest that kind of time again. I hope it's not his last one, but it may have been.


Anonymous said...

The name of the character Little John fought was Kaspar not Gaspar. :)

At A Hen's Pace said...

Thanks, Anon!