Eric Davis, Matthew Kabwe and Tamara Brown
Sherwood Forest 2.0
by Nanette Soucy
Legends and folklore are manna for tellers of children’s tales. Since we understand that any facts in their narratives and characters are stretched at best, at worst, entirely made-up, and often appropriated from whatever influences were blowing in the wind through which the last teller told them, the stories that are passed to us through books, place names and ballads continue to resonate with us throughout the centuries precisely because of, and not despite, the circuitous telephone game involved in their relaying.
There are lots of bits to Robin Hood. Since this is not a story that is passed down to us with a clear beginning, middle, and end, but more in bits and pieces gathered from rituals, songs and tradition, like a Pantomime, there are a couple of basic elements necessary to make it recognizable: We’ll need bows and arrows, trees, a merry band of misfits, a puckish rogue, and an evil sheriff bent on ruthlessly suppressing the peasantry. That’s it. The rest is just detail, bits and pieces added on and altered over the course of the near millenia that this hero has been a part of western consciousness. The moor, the maid, the King, the Friar, the Crusades, the details of Robin’s noble bloodline, are all elements that have been woven into the tale at different times in order to make it appeal to the audience to which it was presented. It is in these details that director Dean Fleming and playwright Paula Wing bring the tale of this Prince of Thieves, this Man in Tights, to the urban, 21st century stage.