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Theater

This 'Maide Marian' means business at Delmont's Johnny Appleseed Children's Theatre

| Sunday, July 20, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

All's not well in legendary Sherwood Forest .

Maide Marian is making life miserable for hero Robin Hood and his “band of merry men,” who aren't very merry in “The Further Adventures of Maide Marian.” Stephen Hotchner's adaptation of the classic tale opens July 21 at Apple Hill Playhouse in Delmont — part of the Johnny Appleseed Children's Theatre season.

In this version of the story, Maide Marian isn't a proper English lady; in fact, she's downright mean. When Robin Hood deserts her in battle by hiding in a tree, Marian is fighting mad and heads out to find him.

And — this is the fun part for a handful of young theatergoers — she selects children from the audience to join her gang, a “band of merry youngsters,” if you will.

Director Rob McIntyre of Irwin says the biggest challenge for him in preparing for this show has been “trying to account for five unknown factors, namely the five kids that are going to be pulled up onstage to take on the roles of Marian's gang. Not only do we not know what some of their reactions are going to be, but often, during rehearsals, it's hard to remember where these five other ‘actors' are going to be during the scene.”

The adventure based on classic characters from literature is the kind of play McIntyre enjoys, having directed shows such as “The Three Musketeers,” “The Scarlet Pimpernel” and “Treasure Island.”

“In fact, the first show I ever directed was ‘Robin Hood,' he says, “so, in a round-about way, it feels like I'm directing a sequel to one of the favorite shows on my resume.”

The director is proud of his cast, including Colleen Malley (Maide Marian) and Kyley Klass (Mad Molly), who he says are good at generating laughs from the crowd, and Tyler Klass (Robin Hood), who displays spot-on comedic timing.

“John Ploskina (Alan O'Dale) is a very talented guitar player and gets to showcase that onstage as he plays the entire soundtrack for the show himself in real time onstage,” McIntyre says. “Anna Rohac (The Dithero) probably didn't know what she was getting into and now finds herself squaring off against two opponents in two really good sword fights and is doing a wonderful job at it, especially considering she's never done anything like it before.”

The director is pleased to be working again with Philip Byford (Friar Tuck), an actor he first met in a production of “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” at Greensburg Civic Theatre.

Malley of Trafford wanted to join the show because she liked the idea of it being an audience-participation musical, which was more difficult than she expected. She admits her biggest reason for auditioning for her role was because it called for her to sword-fight.

“Maide Marian is credited as an expert swordswoman and is determined to prove that she is just as good as Robin Hood, that she can lead Sherwood Forest just as well as he can,” says Malley, who will be a senior at Penn-Trafford High School this fall. “Marian is definitely the main rally point for the children.”

Candy Williams is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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