By Kate Light

niagaraliving@gnnewspaper.com

How many people can say they’ve danced with skunks, been locked in a tower in Prince John’s castle, and been rescued by none other then Robin Hood himself? No one else? Well, don’t I feel special!

Robin Hood is the third Missoula Children’s Theater musical I’ve participated in through the Kenan Center in Lockport. Each year, these musicals have really been something to remember. This one was no exception.

When I walked into the Kenan Center on Oct. 16, I just wanted to be in the musical, no matter what part I got. Like the other auditions I’ve been in for MCT, the kids lined up from shortest to tallest in a square. At the very beginning, the directors from MTC, Renée and Melissa, told us the name of the musical, the different parts we could get and a little bit about the characters. There were the grumpy foresters, the friendly skunks, the snobby aristocrats, the sarcastic Sheriff of Nottingham and his dim-witted guards and two scared horsemen, the bad-tempered Prince John, the “talented” merry band, the lady-like Maid Marion, the not-so-lady-like Marion’s Maid, and of course, the heroic (and impulsive) Robin Hood himself. Sherwood, Robin’s companion, was played by Renée and Melissa, who switch every other week. This week it was Renée’s turn.

I was so excited because all the parts seemed really fun to play, even the skunks. Renée and Melissa had us do all sorts of things for the auditions. One of the first things that everyone had do was say their first and last name and age as if they had just won the lottery. It was obvious some were better then others from the start. It was so funny to watch the differences between everyone. Even the littlest kids really got into it. Then we had to say them as if we were terrified. This was where the younger kids really impressed me. I remember one of them actually pretended to faint.

At the end of the auditions, they announced the roles we would be playing. I wasn’t too nervous then because they had already said everyone got a part. The merry band members were announced, then the guards. Almost everyone had gone up … except myself, and a few older kids and exactly 17 younger kids. When all the youngest kids were announced skunks, it hit me — I was part of the only group left! As it turned out, I got the part of Maid Marion, Robin’s “best friend.” Wow, was I amazed.

My first rehearsal was the same night as auditions. I went through my first scene with Robin, Marion’s Maid, and Melissa. I knew I was going to have fun playing Maid Marion when I got to one of my lines: “Oh Robin, you’re soooo funny!” It was soooo much fun to act soooo lovey-dovey because I’m usually not like that.

Thursday was the first time we ran through the entire show. That was probably the best rehearsal because I got to watch the whole musical coming together. I also knew what the rest of the scenes besides my own were.

Friday, we ran through the show again. This time we used the Lockport High School stage where we would be performing on Saturday. We worked out all the kinks, making sure everyone learned their cues and the audience would be able to hear our lines.

During snack breaks, we were allowed to talk with the other kids. The first night was kind of uncomfortable because there weren’t a lot of us there, and no one knew each other. But by Saturday I knew just about everyone at least a little bit, and had become friends with many of the cast.

In-between the dress rehearsal and the actual performance, we had the joy of getting makeup applied. I usually don’t care for even normal makeup, but this stuff was definitely not normal. Basically, I was powdered to death with blush and baby powder, and I had some pasty red powder put on my lips. Even though it didn’t look too great off-stage, it was fine on-stage with all the lights.

The actual performance was unbelievable. Right before the musical started, I was backstage in the dark in-between Mike (Robin Hood) and Emily (Marion’s Maid). The second the Kenan Center spokeswomen started talking, my stomach dropped. I was so nervous I couldn’t breath. But when the stage lights came on, the music started, and it was my turn to enter, I was no longer nervous Kate Light. I was Maid Marion, proper and confident. The first scene is always the hardest. After that, its almost easy.

For the second performance, I thought I wouldn’t be nervous. I was wrong. I was even more nervous the second time because it was my very last shot as Maid Marion. I wanted it to be perfect. By my last scene, I was just plain happy. Happy, I made it through the musical without tripping, or missing a line, or anything awful.

But with our final “Farewell,” I suddenly felt a pang of sadness that it was over. I loved everything about this musical so much (except maybe the skirt and makeup, but hey, no pain, no gain!) and now it was over. This week seemed to fly by. But with the sadness from it being over, I was still glad I had done it, and that I had the chance to be Maid Marion. Thank you to the Kenan Center and MCT!

Kate Light played the role of Maid Marion in the Missoula Children’s Theater’s version of “Robin Hood” as part of the Kenan Center’s annual Family Productions Series.

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