Mudlark Theater Company continues its sixth season with Managing Director Michael Miro’s daring new take on the story of a boy who steals from the rich to give to the poor. This original stage adaptation of ROBIN HOOD opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 29 with additional shows at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, and 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 1 at the McGaw YMCA Children’s Center Auditorium, 1420 Maple Ave., in Evanston. Admission is $10 for adults; $8 for children and students. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at www.mudlarktheater.org.
Miro worked in collaboration with Mudlark Artistic Director Andrew Biliter to create an adaptation that takes audiences on Robin’s journey from ordinary boy to outlaw to hero. When structuring the story, Miro says Shakespeare’s comedies were an influence. “We wanted it to flow the way a Shakespearean plot does, with moments of extreme drama and extreme comedy side by side,” he explains. “In one scene we’ve got Robin Hood and his gang arguing over whether they should be called the Merry Men, and in next you’re watching an ambush in which characters die. It’s a bit of a roller coaster, but the kids are so passionate and sincere in performing it that it works. They’re ready to grapple with real themes.”
One of Miro’s original twists on this Medieval-era folktale is the introduction of a new character, ROBIN’S OLDER SISTER, LEIGH. Miro, an Evanston native and the oldest of five, explains that while Leigh is initially overprotective, she becomes a partner for ROBIN HOOD to disperse the money and help the people in their struggling town.
“There are 26 actors in the show and each one has lines, has a journey to make. I’m very proud of that. We give everybody their moment to shine, and yet, there’s still all the stuff you expect to see.” That means plenty of sword play and excitement. “We’re not holding back in terms of the spectacle,” Miro adds. “But I also hope that people are drawn into the story in ways they didn’t expect.”
Mudlark Theater Company is dedicated to providing children ages 8 to 18 with hands-on acting and backstage experiences, and audiences of all ages with entertaining theater. Founded by Amy Eaton in 2005 on the belief that children are capable of creating compelling, honest, laugh-out-loud funny performances, Mudlark offers young artists a safe, challenging environment in which to hone their skills. More information is available at www.mudlarktheater.org.