Young Company presenting Robin Hood from Aug. 24 to 26

August 16, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Just for the weekend of August 24-26, could we pretend that the woods on Island Lake are in Sherwood Forest? That is the weekend of Theatre Orangeville’s Young Company production of Robin Hood, which is being performed on the stage of the Amphitheatre or Waterfront Stage in the Island Lake Conservation Area.

This year, the actors are miked so their voices can be heard far into the depths of the audience’s available space.

Adapted for this modern audience by Dan Reale, who is also directing the play, we will find a real shift in the Twelfth Century characters, as the cast now in rehearsal assured us.

“Robin doesn’t like killing; he did kill someone once and he didn’t like it,” called out one voice.

“Prince John wants to tear up Sherwood Forest to build a tennis court, a golf course – his private resort,” quoth another.

So, they sat down to explain the marvels of the re-vamped show.

First of all, Dan Reale said of his adaptation, “This story is the most re-told of them all. Plays, movies back a long way, more than all the other stories. So, I thought a fresh approach was the right way to go. This is all of my favourite parts of the story.”

Especially, and very much to everyone’s approbation, he has altered Maid Marian. Rather than the dewy-eyed, sometimes simpering, albeit defiant about whom she will marry, Marian is now swash-buckling, trouser-toting (as necessary),  set to join  the men in defence of the forest and all the creatures in it, including the merry men. She is even prepared to enter the archery competition.

Marian is ready to say her piece and to not fall all over Robin. Although, they admitted there is a love story, there is romance, he will still have to win her heart!

Well, okay. It is 2018. Certainly, the principles of honour, honesty and loyalty are still intact, as relevant today as they were in ancient times. Yet, not only those two characters, we are assured, have had a face life. No, there are characters of humour and of darkness. Hints about Little John, villains and heroes.

It would be impossible to do Robin Hood without the fighting – it is imposed upon them by the violent nature and greed of Prince John and his resentment of their resistance to his plans for leisurely housing and entertainment.

During the freely flowing round of our questions and their answers, we learned:

“There are cool fight scenes [with Ian Walsh as fight director]”, making the play “very exciting. A lot of different weapons.”

One of the young ladies commented, “It’s more inclusive – a lot more female parts.”

“It’s interesting with multiple characters, strong characters.”

“It’s romantic,  very comic – you think you knew about Robin Hood. We use the entirety of the space on the Waterfront Stage.”

“The energy is kept up very high – it’s adapted – people will enjoy the similarities and the differences.”

To prove the claim, they did a demo fight scene and it was quite furious and true. Wooden swords flashed at each other, safety being the first element of importance while giving the appearance of near- death. Splendid depth in the span of space they are learning to use and which the Waterfront Stage gives them. Facial expressions of unrelenting determination each to overwhelm the other. No kidding about this play acting. Wonderful.

Back to the commentary: “You’ll have to get used to the characters. They’re really great.”

“Different relationship between Robin and Marian, so there’s a lot of emotions.”

“Because of the differences in Marian,” said Josie, who is playing the role, “she is more rebellious and interesting. She has real charisma, a unique personality.”

“There is one overall feeling – one underlaying story line that you could miss.” No one was saying what that is.

Come and see it was the message. Tickets as usual at the box office at the Information Centre on Buena Vista at Highway 10; by telephone at 519-942-3423 or online at

For the show, bring chairs, blankets, your picnic, if you like. Show time is about an hour and a half, including intermission.

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