A Musical Adventure
Adapted & Staged by Eric Stedman from works by Alfred Noyes, W. S. Roddie, Fred Edmonds, Thomas J. Hewitt, Colyer Rowe, and Reginald deKoven and the traditional Robin Hood ballads
A 90-minute, two-act play which combines action from the original Robin Hood legends and ballads and also includes some of the most entertaining Robin Hood songs from historical operettas of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, and poetry from the now-forgotten but fascinating Sherwood by Alfred Noyes.
The goal of this production was to create a production of the Robin Hood story which doesn't rewrite the legend or try to redo it in mocking or silly fashion but instead keeps true to the essentials of its source material and plays it "straight," with a classical, almost Shakespearian feel -- to create an honorable and positive portrayal and a "standard version" of the story one of the best-known legendary heroes in history.
The action also returns the faeries to the tale which were often associated with it in May Day celebrations. Female and male children may be used to play these parts, in fantasy costumes, some of whom may speak, some sing, some play instruments and some dance, and some all of the above. Ten "faery scenes" provide creative and interesting transitional content, and, at the conclusion, the Faeries and humans integrate and appear all together.
This is a production rich in entertainment and literary value which will really mean something to those who perform in it and see it and which they will remember all their lives. It includes challenging acting roles for principals, a lot of swordplay for the guys (and girls), and as many parts for children as desired, who can all have lines, songs and plenty of stage time, and the positive experience of interacting with adult actors who play the "human" roles.
In England c. 1200 A.D., in winter, at the edge of Sherwood Forest, magical woodland Faeries emerge, concerned for the ill treatment of the innocent and speak in poetry their wish for a hero to deliver the poor from their terrible plight whose good deed may awaken their sleeping Princess. They react between scenes to most of the other action in the show, dancing and reciting their verses in their hidden world to the mysterious music of the forest (and facilitating scene changes).
JOY. Sherwood in the twilight, is Robin Hood awake?
HARMONY. Grey and ghostly shadows are gliding through the brake,
HOPE. Shadows of the dappled deer, dreaming of the morn,
COURAGE. Dreaming of a shadowy man that winds a shadowy horn.
JOY. Robin Hood is here again: all his merry thieves
HARMONY. Hear a ghostly bugle-note shivering through the leaves,
HOPE. Calling as he used to call, faint and far away,
COURAGE. In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.
JOY. Friar Tuck and Little John are riding down together
HARMONY. With quarter-staff and drinking-can and grey goose-feather.
HOPE. The dead are coming back again, the years are rolled away
COURAGE. In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day!
A poor man is caught by the Sheriff of Nottingham's men and to be punished for killing one of the King's deer. He is rescued from cruel torture at the last moment by Robin of Loxley, a Yeoman with sympathy for the oppressed, and his band of outlaws, mostly men exiled from their homes by Prince John the usurper, who uses the Sheriff to enforce his will.
FORESTERS FREE ARE WE ARE WE -- Outlaws
The Sheriff and his men are shamed by the outlaws, who instead of killing them cut off their belts, and allow them to leave the forest with their hands tied and pants around their ankles. The Sheriff resolves to destroy this "Robin Hood" as the Outlaws express their gratitude to Robin for helping them and agree now to help him in return. They sing a hunting song in 4-part harmony together:
A-HUNTING WE WILL GO -- Outlaws and Robin
The action continues in Sherwood at break of day, as the Outlaws taunt a corrupt Bishop and make him dance, in order to distribute his ill-gotten money to the poor.
THE BISHOP MUST DANCE -- Outlaws and Bishop
Robin meets and fights big John Little on a log and, after Little John informs Robin his house has been taken over by Sir Guy of Guisborne, a Norman crony of Prince John, admits him as "Little John" to his band of outlaws dedicated to liberty.
Marian Fitzwalter, Robin's childhood sweetheart, disguises herself as a boy and meets Robin in the forest, first challenging him to a sword fight then revealing her identity. Robin professes his love for her . . .
ROBIN AND MARIAN'S LOVE SONG -- Robin and Marian
. . . and she suggests that he honor his promise to her and they should marry so their lands can be joined and they can better defend them against the Sheriff's schemes. Marian is crowned Queen of the Forest by the outlaws and faeries.
FAIREST OF FLOWERS -- Outlaws, Faeries, Robin and Marian
Robin's friend Friar Tuck, also sympathetic to the poor, overhears a plot by the Sheriff to capture Robin at what is to be his wedding feast and rushes to warn Robin of impending danger.
In Castle Fitzwalter, Little John raises a toast to the couple about to be wed . . .
BROWN OCTOBER ALE -- Little John and Chorus
. . . then Robin and Marian's wedding feast is disrupted by the Sheriff and Sir Guy, who try to arrest him, but Robin escapes through a secret passage into the woods, where he will be forced now to remain forever.
The Sheriff murders Fitzwalter and Ravenna, his scheming niece, plans to track Marian to the forest and discover the Outlaws' hiding place. This she does, and Marian is captured and accused of treason, and Act I ends on a cliffhanger, with Robin tied to the Old Oak and about to be run through by the Sheriff's Foresters.
Sir Guy demands that the imprisoned Marian marry him or he will have her walled up in a tower. Robin scales the castle wall and swears to Marian he will rescue her.
O PROMISE ME -- Robin and Marian
Ravenna catches Robin at the scene and promises to talk Sir Guy into sparing Marian's life by staging a trial by combat, the prize to the winner being Marian's pronounced innocence, if Robin will promise himself to her. Robin reluctantly agrees, then returns to the forest and his outlaw friends to prepare for the fight of their lives.
LIBERTY -- Robin, Will Scarlet, Little John & Outlaws
At the tournament, Robin's trusted lieutenants Little John and Will Scarlet take on Sir Guy's mighty champions Guntar the Giant, a huge Norseman with an axe, and Mungo Skullsplitter, a Celtic warrior, and succeed in defeating them.
Robin, in disguise, fights the black-clad Masked Swordsman of Nottingham, who will not yield and so is killed by Robin and then unmasked and discovered to be Ravenna, who entered the fight to try and fix the outcome of the tournament in her favor by defeating Robin herself. She relieves Robin of his promise and all seems well until Sir Guy himself claims the right to fight the now-unmasked Robin for Marian's hand. A vicious duel ensues, during which Robin is wounded and almost overpowered, but using a clever move Robin defeats Sir Guy in the end and kills him with his own dagger. The Sheriff will not allow Robin the victory, however, and condemns all three fighters as outlaws who should be executed on the spot. He calls in three executioners who tie Will and John to posts and force Robin's head onto a block. But when the signal is given to execute the prisoners, instead of doing so, the executioners chop the ropes that bind them.
When Robin asks who the hooded men are, and if they are men come to Sherwood to join their band, their leader says "no, but perhaps you shall join mine" and reveals himself as the long-lost Richard II, King of England, come to set them all free from the oppressive regime of his cowardly brother John, the usurper.
GOD SAVE KING RICHARD -- Company
The Sheriff tries to escape but is caught, then, after a last-ditch attempt to murder the King, killed by a bow-shot from Little John. All seems well until Robin, faint from loss of blood in the wound in his side, collapses to the ground. He asks Little John to hold him up while he shoots an arrow toward the place he wishes to be buried and closes his eyes, apparently dead.
But the Faeries of the Wood have witnessed his good deeds, which cause their Princess to finally awaken from her long slumber.
The Faery Princess walks to Robin and heals him with her magical touch. Though he will never be able to leave the forest again, if he stays there he will live on forever.
The Outlaws prepare to leave their home in the woods . . .
SHALL WE LEAVE OUR FOREST HOME? -- Outlaws and King Richard
. . . then King Richard offers them a place in his court and they bid farewell to Sherwood Forest, all but Lady Marian, who decides she will stay in the forest with Robin. After saying goodbye to the King and his friends, Robin puts down his bow, and removes his forester's cap, and, as the lights of the Faeries surround him, remarks on the beauty of the night . . .
EVENING HYMN -- Faeries
. . . then embraces and kisses his queen as they are wed by the Fairy Princess in their magical woodland home.
And Faery Dances/Recitations
A Glade in Sherwood Forest, Winter, Just Before Dawn
1 SHERWOOD - Faeries
2 THE CRY OF THE POOR - Faeries
In the Glade, Near A Narrow Bridge
3 FORESTERS FREE ARE WE - Outlaws
4 A-HUNTING WE WILL GO - Outlaws
Daytime, after the Snow has Melted
5 THE BISHOP MUST DANCE - Outlaws
6 THE GATES OF FAERYLAND - Faeries
7 LOVE IS IN THE GREENWOOD
8 ROBIN AND MARIAN'S SONG - Robin and Marian
9 FAIREST OF FLOWERS - Faeries and Outlaws
10 THE FOREST SHALL CONQUER - Faeries
The Forest Glade
11 I AM A HOLY FRIAR - Friar Tuck
The Banquet Hall in Castle Fitzwalter
12 BROWN OCTOBER ALE - Wedding Guests & Outlaws
In the Forest, by the Old Oak
13 THE FAERIES' VOW - Faeries
14 WHO WILL PROTECT US? - Faeries
Scene 1: A Prison Cell in a Nottingham Castle Tower
15 O PROMISE ME - Robin and Marian
Scene 2: The Forest Glade
16 KING RICHARD IS DEAD - Faeries
17 LIBERTY - Robin, Will, & Outlaws
Scene 3: The Tournament
18 TOURNAMENT FANFARE
19 GOD SAVE KING RICHARD - Outlaws
20 THE CRY OF THE POOR (Reprise) - Faeries
21 THE FOREST HAS CONQUERED - Faeries
22 SHALL WE LEAVE OUR FOREST HOME - Will, King Richard & Outlaws
23 EVENING HYMN - Faeries and Outlaws
24 HURRAH FOR THE MERRY GREENWOOD - Ensemble
Elements currently included in the Production Package for this show:
Script PDF file
Including all dialogue and song lyrics and extensive notes on casting, lighting, costumes, and production comments related to staging the Faery scenes.
Musical Score PDF file
MP3 Music Tracks for use in rehearsal or performance
Note: The MP3 files are recorded in keys found to be suitable for performance by most groups. 3-4 of them are not in the same key as the printed version of the music, which for some groups, we have been told, are a little high in printed form. You may choose whichever version of these songs you'd like to use in your performance.