October 1, 2008

Children’s Theater to Present ‘Robin Hood’

By Ben Calwell

Down and out?

Then welcome to the forest, where Robin Hood and his band of merry men will welcome you. Welcome you, that is, if you're not the Sheriff of Nottingham.

The Children's Theater of Charleston is bringing the timeless tale of Robin Hood, the folk hero who robs from the rich to give to the poor, to the Charleston Civic Center Little Theater this week for four public performances.

Performances begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, and Friday, Oct. 3. A matinee on Saturday, Oct. 4, starts at 2 p.m., followed by an evening performance at 7 p.m. The final show begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 5.

Tickets, available at the door, are $10 for adults, $8 for children, students and senior citizens.

The CTOC is also giving school performances at 9 and 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, and at 9 and 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 3.

The CTOC's production of "Robin Hood" is an adaptation by Tim Kelly and is directed by Ariana Kincaid of Charleston.

"It's the classic Robin Hood. It's got Maid Marian, the Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin and his merry band, and King Richard is off fighting the crusades," Kincaid said.

The non-musical play is written to appeal to children.

"The whole show is child-friendly. There's no great, confusing, overarching theme," she said.

The audience will be treated to swordfights and colorful costumes.

"There's lots of action, pretty costumes, a little bit of humor and a little bit of romance," Kincaid said.

The cast includes about 50 children from around the area.

"I cast just about everybody who came out (for auditions). We have a few first-timers, who are playing villagers, and then we've got some more seasoned performers."

The cast of Robin Hood has been in rehearsals for about two months at the CTOC's West Side headquarters.

Kincaid, who is assisted by Brittany Roberts, said the actors have been fun to work with.

"They're a lot of fun. Everybody's got a good sense of humor, all the boys want to have a sword to run around with, the girls love the costumes and everybody is really giving it their all."

CTOC veteran Steven Sweat, a sophomore at Nitro High School, plays the lead role of Robin Hood.

To prepare for his role, Sweat, 14, watched old Disney movies, as well as the classic 1938 film in which Errol Flynn portrayed Robin Hood.

"I'm kind of doing it a little bit after the Errol Flynn version - I like that one," Sweat said.

Sweat, who has appeared in about a dozen CTOC shows, said rehearsals have gone well.

"I think I'm ready, and I hope everybody else thinks they're ready, too," he said.

Nick Staples, 13, a student at John Adams Middle School, portrays the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Nick read for the part "because I like to be the mean person. It's such a fun part to get on other people."

Samantha Istfan, a student at George Washington High School, portrays Maid Marian.

"I really like the part. I've always wanted to be like the princess girl. I tried out on a whim, so I really had no idea about the story," Samantha said.

The actors will wear costumes that fit the time period.

Kit Reed, CTOC board president, is in charge of costumes for the play, Kincaid said. A cadre of parent volunteers who can sew typically assists Reed.

"They're colorful, period costumes, and we've ordered a few special for this to have the right costumes. Kit made Robin Hood's costume," Kincaid said.

Although this production of "Robin Hood" isn't a musical, Kincaid does plan to use some music "to help set the mood for the audience."

For more information, visit www.ctoc.org, or call 346-0164.

Originally published by [email protected] 348-5188.

(c) 2008 Charleston Gazette, The. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.