Children’s Theatre takes aim at ‘Robin Hood’

“Robin Hood” cast members from left, Nikolas Mandalas as Will Scarlet, Kaitlyn Clendaniel as Old Widow, Ace Clark as Robin Hood, Josiah Rich as Little John and Clair Juneau as Beth. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — The classic tale of the man who takes from the rich and gives to the poor is coming to the stage this weekend with the Children’s Theatre’s performance of “Robin Hood.”

The show was last performed by the Children’s Theater nine years ago. So for all the actors, this is their first time in the production.

“We don’t have many brand new actors in this show,” director Pam Lloyd said. “But even though these actors are experienced, it’s their first time doing ‘Robin Hood.’”

Ms. Lloyd has been involved in the Children’s Theatre since her own children acted with the group beginning in 2003 and “Robin Hood” was her daughter’s last performance with the group before heading to college.

Many of the actors admitted to never having seen any “Robin Hood” movie or being too young to remember the tale of the heroic archer and swordsman with his band of Merry Men.

One of the newest performers with the group is Ace Clark, who is performing his second title role in his first year with the Children’s Theatre.

“’Rumplestiltskin’ was my first performance with the Children’s Theatre and I made a lot of friends through that so I knew that I definitely wanted to come back and do more shows here,” he said.

Throughout the show, Robin Hood shows off his archery skills, even competing for a golden arrow. Although real arrows aren’t used on stage, Ace has his technique down pat.

“Robin Hood” cast members from left, Noelle Snyder as Lady In Waiting, Alexia Nadel as Lady Merle Merle, Gianna Pierce as Sheriff’s Wife, Jesse Rich as Sheriff, Amanda Finney as Maid Marion and Lillian Mandalas. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

“I actually am interested in archery and wanted to try it so I took lessons so although I don’t take lessons any more. I’m a little more convincing in this role,” he said.

Archery isn’t the only feat performed in the show. There are fighting scenes — atypical to a Children’s Theater performance.

“I think I’ve gotten pretty good at my lines — that hasn’t been the difficult part so far,” said Anthony Quiene, portraying Friar Tuck.

“I have a staff that my character handles throughout the performance and I have had to learn a lot of choreography for the fight scenes, which is something I’ve never had to do before.”

Jesse Rich, portraying the Sheriff of Nottingham, is also participating in some of the fight scenes. But his character is quite cowardly.

“He gets into situations where he might need to fight, but he always backs down from the challenge,” Jesse said.

“It’s been super fun though because he is such a strange character. He’s tough and greedy but he’s also scared.”

Ace Clark as Robin Hood, left and Landon Lewicki as Soldier 2. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Zoe Edelman, playing Salome, also finds her character unusual.

“She’s weird — loud, clumsy and totally unlike any other character I’ve played before,” she said. “I actually decided to audition because she’s so different which makes her a lot of fun to play.”

Unlike most Children’s Theatre productions, “Robin Hood” has a split cast with several roles played by different characters in each show.

“It’s a little different because I’ll only be performing on Sunday. Prom is Saturday night so a few of the other actors and I won’t be able to do the Saturday night show,” said Amanda Finney, portraying Maid Marian.

“It’s OK though because you get a different perspective than when you’re the only one in the role.”

From left, Zoe Edelman as Salome, Gianna Pierce as the Sheriffs Wife, and Jesse Rich as the Sheriff. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

She said that she has closely watched Julianna Brenner, the Saturday Maid Marian, in rehearsal to take notes on her portrayal to change and improve her own.

“All the kids have been working together so well and having a lot of fun during rehearsal so I know it’s going to be an excellent performance,” Ms. Lloyd said.

“It’s your classic tale of good versus evil and in the end, good prevails,” Amanda said.

“So not only will it be a good show. It will be a feel-good show too.”

“Robin Hood” will be performed at the Schwartz Center for the Arts at 226 S. State St. in Dover on Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at the door or online at schwartzcenter.com.

Ashton Brown is a freelance writer living in Dover.

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