The world premiere production of Robin Hood: Occupy Sherwood - the tale of the original caped crusader and his band of "merry men" sticking it to the one-percenters is coming to the JBK Theatre at Frederick Community College (7932 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick) from August 10th through the 18th. The show is produced as part of Maryland Ensemble Theatre's (MET) annual summer outreach program in partnership with The Ensemble School, Frederick Community College and Hood College. Written by local talent Sarah Shulman and directed by Julie Herber, Robin Hood: Occupy Sherwood presents a new take on the classic legend that will entertain the whole family.
With King Richard away in the Holy Land, fighting what seems to be an unstoppable war, the kingdom has been left in the hands of his brother Prince John who charges the nobility with raising taxes to pay for Richard's crusade and the country's upkeep. But corruption runs rife and nowhere is this more apparent than in the city of Nottingham. Under the pretense of raising money for Richard's campaign, the Sheriff drastically hikes taxes, but a large percentage of these taxes end up back in the pocket of the rich. Desperate, many of the impoverished citizens of Nottingham have taken refuge in Sherwood Forrest. A few sympathetic nobles have rallied to the people's cause, but it will take the return of Robin of Loxley from the Holy War to truly bring the rebellion together and unite the 99%.
But, once returned, will Robin be able to keep the movement under control?
Says Shulman, "That was where the Occupy Sherwood part came in. The classic tale of Robin Hood is a perfect parallel for today's economic and political climate. Endless war that is bankrupting a country. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. We didn't have to force the similarities - they were already there." Shulman credits the show's director, Julie Herber, for the rock and roll music that provides the live (and loud!) soundtrack to Occupy Sherwood. Shulman recalls, "Julie pointed out that the play lacked a specific style, something to set it apart from every other version of Robin Hood to make it our own. She came up with the idea that instead of just having the minstrel character sing, the show itself should have a rock n roll theme. The people rebelling should express themselves through song and those songs should be rock n roll."
However, Shulman is quick to add that her version of Robin Hood is not a complete revision of the man. "Everything Robin Hood fans want will be there from duelling with Little John to archery competitions. And true lovers of the story will pick up on some finer details that you would only know if you were a true Robin Hood scholar" she promises. "I feel our version, while we have altered a lot, stays truer to the original ballads than most of the Hollywood Robin Hoods out there."
Robin Hood marks the third play Shulman has written for MET and the second summer show. She previously wrote Don Q a Don Quixote adaptation and the Young Olympians and the Most Amazingly Awesome Adventure Ever and this coming year she is slated to adapt Rudard Kipling's Riki Tiki Tavi for the Fun Company. Julie Herber is the Artistic Director of The Fun Company in addition to serving as Associate Artistic Director of MET. The cast features a large ensemble of actors headed up by Joe Jalette as Robin Hood. Joe is a ensemble member of MET and has been seen several times on the MET stage perhaps most notably as Alex in last year's production of A Clockwork Orange. The production team includes lights by Paul Shillinger, set design by JoAnn Lee, sound by Steve Younkins and Paul Shillenger, costumes by Julie Herber and original music by Thom Huenger and Joe Jalette.
There will be a total of six performances between August 10th and 18th playing each Friday and Saturday at 7pm, Thursday the 16th at 7pm and Sunday the 12th at 2pm. Tickets to Robin Hood: Occupy Sherwood may be purchased online at marylandensemble.org, by phone at (301) 694-4744 or in person at the MET box office.
For over a decade, Maryland Ensemble Theatre has been producing thought-provoking theatre, fun family entertainment, artist residency programs for public schools, challenging classes and the side-splitting Comedy Pigs.
Cast: Joe Jalette (Robin), Alex Borlo (Will Scarlet), Giovanni Kavota (Guy of Gisborne), Thom Huenger (Alan A'Dale), Tim Seltzer (Little John), Reiner Prochaska (The Sheriff), Francis Mwale (Roger), Emily Cucchi (Marian), Will Bureau (Much the Miller's Son), Geoff Huntoon (Friar Tuck), Ken Poisson (Soldier), Patrick Opitz (Soldier), Christina Robinson (Emily), Wilson Seltzer (John Jr.), Lena Janes (Sally Mae), Alex Ketzenberger (Billy),