Rollicking tale of heroism and mischief opens July 22 at St. Luke’s Church in Allentown
ALLENTOWN, Pa. – For two weekends, July 22-31, Allentown Public Theatre (APT) will transport audiences to Sherwood Forest for an adventure with Robin and his Merry Men. Suitable for audiences of all ages, Robin Hood by Greg Banks brings the classic story to life with athleticism and slapstick humor. APT’s fourth annual family-friendly production is being hosted, as in past years, by St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Allentown.
For her first production for children and families as APT’s Artistic Director, Anna Russell chose Robin Hood, she says, because she fell in love as a child with the “charm, wit, and pure fun of the seemingly endless exploits of Robin and his contemporaries. There’s something eternally delicious about the idea of a band of noble outlaws living in the forest, ready to swoop to the aid of those in need.”
In picking the script, Russell went with a version by the award-winning Greg Banks because “it captures the playful and inventive spirit of the original Robin Hood stories,” she says. Half the fun of these tales “is the grandness of the adventures and of the imagination. Greg Banks’s script embraces that same assumption of grandness, and the ability to create it out of thin air. The characters are much like children at play, who, through their ability to imagine and pretend, can become, at the drop of a hat, the greatest of heroes and the most feared of villains.”
Allentown Public Theatre will present Banks’s quick-moving play with four actors, as originally staged. The cast includes Kate Egging, Willow Reichard Flynn, Cheryl Moritz (who appeared in last year’s Charlotte’s Web), and Sydney Stauffer. Each actor plays at least two – in some cases several – characters. The flexibility of the play, the quick changes in characters and locations let the audience imagine right along with the actors. Russell, who directs, notes that “each actor can literally transform before our very eyes into anyone or anything at any given moment throughout the play.” Watching those changes – quick shifts in voice, accent, mannerisms – is part of the fun.
APT’s production of Robin Hood and its related series of theatre workshops for children are sponsored by Community Action Development Corporation of Allentown, the County of Lehigh, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, The Trexler Trust, and Upside Allentown.
Performances of Robin Hood run July 22 and 29 at 6pm and July 23, 24, 30, and 31 at 2pm at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 417 N. 7th St., Allentown. Free for children, ages 12 and under; adults and teens, pay-what-you-will. 888-895-5645. www.allentownpublictheatre.com
Allentown Public Theatre works to enrich the community by presenting memorable and accessible performances and providing employment and training for theatre artists. APT believes that everyone deserves to experience theatre that inspires, challenges, and entertains.
Roberta A. Moyer