Here comes Robin Hood

After chapel on Thursday, three pairs of students fought with swords on the quad. But where can you find more sword fighting? This weekend, the answer to that question is the Berry Performing Arts Center.

Members of the student cast said they look forward to demonstrating their hard work.

“I have this incredible cast,” Jan Lauderdale, director of the production, said. “They are super talented, and they just are unified. And that’s always the situation with JBU students.”

Lauderdale said each member of the cast has embraced the responsibilities of the production wholeheartedly. They have developed bonds with each other and dedicated themselves to perfecting the production.

Lauderdale said the cast “really work together as a team and help each other.”

“They’re really good at playing off of each other, which is not always as easy to find,” Lauderdale said.

Lauderdale said the cast’s devotion to each other has greatly enhanced the production process.

“The audience will see the results of that,” Lauderdale said.

Amy Perry, who plays Ellen Deirwold in the production, said she is excited about how the cast has developed their characters.

“There’s a lot of the same actors you’ve seen on stage in very different roles, so it’s fun [for the students in the audience] to see their classmates do something very different from who they are,” Perry said.

The content of “Robin Hood” is described by the cast as eclectic.

“There’s something for everybody, because there’s adventure, romance, politics, a little bit of history and then, of course, there’s sword fighting,” Lauderdale said with a smile.

“Robin Hood” has a lot of the same style as the production of the “The Three Musketeers” that Lauderdale directed at the University in the spring of 2012. There is sword fighting, adventure and comedy in both plays.

“When we had our first read-through of the script, which was the first time the students had read the script, we literally had to stop a couple times because we were laughing so hard,” Lauderdale said.

This version of “Robin Hood” sets itself apart from other adaptions of the play with its comedic relief and inclusion of lesser-known characters.

In this adaptation, King Richard the Lionheart has already died and his brother, usually known as Prince John, is the king.

King John’s mother, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, also plays a dominant role in this adaptation.

“The scenes between Queen Eleanor and King John are some of the most intense [moments of the play],” Lauderdale said. “Kaitlyn Thompson plays Queen Eleanor for us, and Seth Burgett plays King John. They have a great chemistry between the two of them, so those make for very exciting scenes.”

Lauderdale and Perry said they look forward to seeing the audience’s reactions to the sword fighting. The University’s Department of Music and Theatre hired a certified fight director to come in and train the actors to sword fight. Matthew Ellis, a professor of movement and combat at the University of Oklahoma.

“He came in our first weekend of classes, and we spent the entire weekend, like six hours on Friday, nine hours on Saturday and another five or six hours on Sunday choreographing all of our fights,” Lauderdale said.

You can experience the action, romance, drama and comedy this weekend only. Showings are Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $3 for John Brown University students, $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for non-John Brown University students.