This month at Regis College, the famed English tale of Robin Hood and his loyal gang of thieves is set for the stage. As Marian, Or The True Tale of Robin Hood will maintain the core of the original narrative, playwright Adam Szymkowicz presents a new version. According to Director Jennifer Potts of Regis’ Fine Arts Center, “The beauty of this play is that we take the mythological story of Robin Hood and completely turn it around, dispelling any illusions to damsels in distress or the archetypal male hero.” As local cast members, all of whom hail from various towns in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, embody the roles of Little John, Friar Tuck, and the Prince of Loxley, they will also find a way to transform the popular perception of these characters to reveal “a more modern understanding of gender identity.”
With his previous work entitled Rare Birds having received critical acclaim in 2017, Szymkowicz focuses in Marian on character arcs, an element which cast members could closely identify with. “One of the biggest themes of this play is transitioning,” notes Alex DeStefano of East Boston, who plays both Sheriff of Nottingham and Friar Tuck. “Some characters completely embrace changes and look forward to what it has to offer, while others are so scared of change that they will do anything in their power to stop it.” DeStefano continues, “It has helped me come out of my creative bubble.” Emmett Perkins shares, “Marian is a play that truly holds meaning, not for just the wider LGBT+ community, but means a lot to me as an individual.” Performing the role of Much the Miller’s Son, Perkins corroborates the opinions of his fellow cast members in realizing the play’s thematic appeal: “to move forward with the idea of acceptance…is a magical thing…and this play is a true example of the change it can affect.”
In working with the themes of the play, the cast and crew admit to the challenges they faced posed by Marian’s objective to mix comedy with drama. Playing both Robin Hood and lover Maid Marian, Caroline O’Connor of Lynn, Massachusetts declares, “So often in our modern day society, when having a conversation about gender norms and the patriarchy, it is thought it has to be done with a serious tone.” Yet O’Connor promises, “Marian defies that,” as an admixture of what has been exhibited as equal parts Shakespeare and Monty Python. “The comedy, diversity, and other heavier issues in Marian,” Adrianna Kinney reveals as Will Scarlett, “is an interesting balancing act.”
First founded as a women’s college in 1927 in Weston, Massachusetts, Regis upholds its status as a private Catholic coed university focusing on advanced studies in healthcare. It was recently named Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League of Nursing for the third time and was awarded the title of Apple Distinguished School from 2016 to 2018.
Those at Regis College who have committed to bringing Marian, Or The True Tale of Robin Hood to the stage are inclined to incite more interest in the performing arts throughout the region with this production… “It’s an amazing insightful play,” Potts notes, “one that we’re excited to share with the entire Regis community.” As preparations are made, the historic Eleanor Welch Casey Theatre located on Regis’ campus will serve as the main venue. Equipped with a state-of-the-art sound system funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and 625-person seating capacity, the theatre will hold three scheduled performances of Marian, 7 p.m. on April 11 and 12, and 13th at 2 p.m.