Rory Funk and Oshie Broussard rehearse “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Rory Funk and Oshie Broussard rehearse “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Shooting through the status quo

Treefort Theatre retells Robin Hood tale with a twist

The heroes and villains of Sherwood Forest will fill the Kenai Art Center gallery this month, in a show that puts a fresh take on the Robin Hood tale.

“Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood,” staged by the Treefort Theatre, will tell the story of the familiar characters through the lens of contemporary themes of gender and identity.

The show will run two weekends, March 7-10 and March 14-17, in the Kenai Art Center’s gallery, which this month is showing an exhibition titled “Medieval Forest” to set the atmosphere. Shows are 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday — 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The story of Robin Hood, director Jen Brighton said Thursday, has always been about challenging the status quo. This take on the familiar tale, penned by Adam Szymkowicz, puts the bow in Marion’s hands — she moonlights as the legendary outlaw.

Of course, the villainous Prince John has “strong feelings” about exactly what women should or shouldn’t be.

“Marian has found a way to do the things that are important to her,” Brighton said. “As the play progresses you discover that there are some other people who are also saying ‘this isn’t working for me, I need to do something different.’”

Rory Funk plays Prince John and said the role is fun because the character is so unpleasant. During a rehearsal on Thursday, Funk could be seen as the prince, lounging on a throne, jumping up and down in fury, and physically recoiling at the slightest mention of feminine hygiene.

“I love being him,” Funk said. “He’s like the comic relief and I get to order people around all the time.”

Funk said the relatively small-scale production of “Marian” has created a fun community among its actors — “we have so much fun doing it.”

The Prince’s right-hand man, the Sheriff of Nottingham, is brought to life by Gavin Hunt.

Hunt said “Marian” is an opportunity to play a sillier character — a commanding presence with “soft moments,” but “absolutely not” a softie on the inside.

Brighton said she first found out about the show when it was being challenged for its content in the Lower 48.

“I’m curious,” she said. “I ordered the script and I read it, and my first thought was that this was hilarious.”

What she found was a production with sharp humor, strong sentimentality and diverse characters. That’s the show that will be brought to life in the art center gallery next week.

Brighton said none of the actors have worked in a space like the gallery before — the audience will be on both sides of the performance space, not one like an auditorium, and it’s much smaller than many of them are used to.

JLee Webster plays Alanna Dale, a character in the show and also its narrator. She said the closeness of the audience makes for an experience that’s more personable — perspectives are tighter, closer to a film than a big stage show.

Funk said a major challenge had been overcoming years of training — “never have your back to the audience.” With attendees on either side, not everyone will always be able to see every face.

The different setup, Hunt said, forces creativity and demands more understanding of positioning.

Teenagers, Brighton said, are her favorite group of people to work with. She said they’re idealists — that they have “a fierceness and a bravery” — and are not as cynical as adults can be.

Brighton described having conversations with the actors about the show they’re putting on, elements that may make some people uncomfortable. But the kids respond — “we need to tell these stories — this is us; this is our friends.”

“It’s different than the other stuff that we’ve been putting on here,” Webster said. “Swashbuckling, a little bit Queer, this one’s interesting.”

Sometimes, Webster said, art pushes boundaries. She said she’s excited to bring perspectives and voices to the production that aren’t often seen on the Kenai Peninsula.

“It’s putting a theme into the community that we don’t really have, and it’s bringing awareness to a lot of current events that are happening as well,” she said. “I’m glad that it’s something new.”

“Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” will be playing at the Kenai Art Center for two weekends, March 7-10 and 14-17. Shows on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays will be at 7 p.m., while the Sunday shows are at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at treeforttheatre.ticketleap.com, $15 for adults and $10 for those under 18. Seats are limited by the space in the gallery.

A portion of the proceeds from the show will be donated to charity — selected by the teen actors. Brighton said Thursday that they hadn’t yet made their selection.

For more information, find “Treefort Theatre” on Facebook.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

Jackson Hooper and Oshie Broussard rehearse “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Jackson Hooper and Oshie Broussard rehearse “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

JLee Webster rehearses “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

JLee Webster rehearses “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Gavin Hunt rehearses “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Gavin Hunt rehearses “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

JLee Webster rehearses “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

JLee Webster rehearses “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Rory Funk rehearses “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Rory Funk rehearses “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Gavin Hunt, JLee Webster and Oshie Broussard rehearse “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Gavin Hunt, JLee Webster and Oshie Broussard rehearse “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Rory Funk and Gavin Hunt rehearse “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Rory Funk and Gavin Hunt rehearse “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Rory Funk and Gavin Hunt rehearse “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Rory Funk and Gavin Hunt rehearse “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Oshie Broussard and Jackson Hooper rehearse “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Oshie Broussard and Jackson Hooper rehearse “Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood” at the Kenai Art Center on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

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