The classic tale of Robin Hood will be brought to life this weekend with a twist.
Dufflebag Theatre will use their small, but highly energetic cast of improvisational actors to pull the Children’s Showcase audience at the Summerland Centre Stage Theatre into the adventure.
“I think the formula we have really works because the kids are instantly engaged when we ask them to participate, whether that is on stage or as part of the audience. So many people are passively watching TV, their tablets or screens these days that when someone says, ‘Hey, want to be part of this?’ that it is so exciting to get to contribute,” said Marcus Lundgren, artistic director and actor with Dufflebag Theatre.
“This type of theatre works for everybody and we see the parents just as excited as the kids. One of the responses we have had is that we are theatrical karaoke.”
Dufflebag Theatre focuses on interactive storytelling theatre. Since 1992, the company has become one of the most celebrated at festivals and schools across the country.
The Dufflebag actors begin the retelling of original adaptations of select fairy tales or Shakespearean classics full of wit and humour.
Just when the audience becomes enthralled by the story, a twist is created. The audience is asked to come up on stage and join in the action as the main characters, with Dufflebag actors performing supporting roles and narrating the scenes.
This unpredictable performance is a hilarious experience for all ages and a truly unique interactive theatrical experience where the dream of living a fairy tale actually does come true.
Some lucky volunteers will join the action on stage, but there are also plenty of opportunities for the whole audience to become part of the show.
Lundgren said audience participation keeps the actors on their toes and if for some reason one of the main characters decides they don’t want to be part of the show anymore there are ways around it, be it a stunt double from the audience taking over or an extreme makeover.
It is spontaneous things like this that makes each show unique.
“I remember one time we picked a little guy to come up and it was his first day at the school having come from a different city in the middle of the school year. He had everyone laughing and enjoying themselves. The teachers afterwards thanked us for picking him because outside during recess he was like a rock star and couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to the school,” said Lundgren.
Dufflebag Theatre performs over 600 shows a year across Canada, the U.S. and internationally. There are 15 different shows in the company’s repertoire and they will be bringing the classic Robin Hood to the Summerland Centre Stage Theatre on Sunday.
“We realize we have people in our audiences of all ages so we purposely make it not just about little kids laughing about us falling down but also have jokes for the older kids and definitely the parents. It is like the Muppet Show, which worked on so many different levels. It is great fun,” said Lundgren.
Robin Hood by Dufflebag Theatre is suitable for ages three and up. The performance takes place on April 27 at 2 p.m. in the Centre Stage Theatre in Summerland. Tickets are $12 at the door.
The Children’s Showcase Society is a non-profit organization which has been dedicated to making quality live performances accessible to Okanagan families for 30 years.