Misdirection and merrymen make Marian or the True Tale of Robin Hood magical

Wednesday, March 8 marks the opening night of Archie William’s beginning-level drama performance, Marian or the True Tale of Robin Hood. Adapted from Adam Szymkowicz’s 2017 book, this unique production takes on the original story of Robin Hood, with a few key twists.

Beginning drama students Zara Prime and Cavan Donery take the stage during Marian, and sit back to back as their characters have an emotional moment. (Allison Bredow)

The twist reveals itself within the first moments of the show; Maid Marian’s secret identity is Robin Hood. Genderbending and feminist ideas transform this medieval play into modern entertainment. By combining the love interest and the hero into one character, the women in the show present their power in a dominating way by playing a traditionally very masculine role.

Drama teacher Jasper Thelin and senior Stella Vaskas directed the production, leading the class of first-year drama students through a 65-minute production. Allowing them the freedom to hone their acting and tech skills, every student in the production presents impressive stage awareness by being a part of the quick set transitions between scenes.

Leading the audience through this Robin Hood adaptation are characters Alanna Dale, played by freshmen Hanna Janson and Elsa Wahlstrom; Marian/Robin Hood, played by freshmen Georgia Conway and Zara Prime; and various Guards and Merrymen. Their performances are split between two casts, giving the students a “double cast” and partner in their rehearsals.

Characters on stage as well as the audience try to untangle the web of love triangles and misunderstandings. This mysterious element adds to the show, creating a dynamic and intriguing production.

Beginning drama students (left to right), Dylan O’Wards, Elsa Wahlstrom, and Jack Childs, stand center stage as Alanna Dale, played by Elsa, delivers a perfect arrow shot, in a competition to be a Merryman. (Allison Bredow)

The actors take the stage in beautifully crafted corsets, chain mail guard uniforms, and authentic medieval dresses. Huda AlJamal, a wonderful talent in the drama department and Archie Williams alumni parent, provided all the costumes. Various students work in costuming and props, helping to uphold and run the production.

The play is easy to keep up with thanks to its short, back-to-back scenes. Infused with humor, female empowerment, and flying arrows, this production is an entertaining watch. While it is sometimes clear these students are still learning, seeing their potential and talent in this show, on the stage and off, is inspiring.

Marian or the True Tale of Robin Hood will be open to the public on March 8-11 in Archie William’s Little Theater. Tickets are at the door, There is a $5 donation for students, and $10 donation for general public. This play is worth your support and earns a four out of five feathers.