This Robin Hood brings non-stop action

Cast of 60+ children brings Sherwood Forest to life on the SMSU theater stage

Photo by Cindy Votruba Members of the SMSU Children’s Theatre rehearse a scene from the upcoming production of “Hi, Ho, Robin Hood.” The show consists of more than 60 children in the cast.

MARSHALL — An “action-packed” show featuring a familiar character is gracing the stage at Southwest Minnesota State University.

SMSU Children’s Theatre, in conjunction with Marshall Community Services and Marshall Area Stage Company, is presenting “Hi, Ho, Robin Hood” at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. today in the Southwest Minnesota State University Fine Arts Theatre.

More than 60 children are part of the cast. They will bring to life the story of Robin Hood and how he takes back Sherwood Forest from the corrupt sheriff of Nottingham.

Nathan Lenz, who plays the title role, said his character is easy-going.

“He’s more full of himself,” Lenz said. “(It’s) if I’m not ready, don’t do it.”

Lenz said Robin Hood is also kind of adventurous and tries new things.

“He needs to take part in everything,” Lenz said.

AJ Runchey Smalley portrays the sheriff.

“I think I brought more laughter and loudness to the character,” Runchey Smalley said. “He’s supposed to be bumbling, sort of odd and not very smart.”

Some of the challenges in putting an entire show together in two weeks include learning the lines and “trying to get to where you are,” said Runchey Smalley.

Kaziah Kelsey portrays Lady Merle in the show.

“She’s more serious than Prince John, she’s more evil,” Kelsey said of her character. She said she’s been making Lady Merle’s lines sound more sarcastic.

Sophia Gaul said her character, Maid Marian, is different from other roles she’s played.

“She doesn’t really have a big personality,” Gaul said. Gaul said she personally has a bigger personality. “It’s been hard to tone it down.”

Gaul said she has to act “regal and sweet and pretty the whole time.”

With more than 60 kids for the show, the actors said there’s more chorus roles. Kelsey said her character even has an assistant who follows her around with a mirror. Even if you’re in the chorus, you have a good part, the actors said.

Lenz said they use the whole stage for the production, as well as the side doors and the balcony area.

“It’s really full,” he said.

Gaul said the show has three fight scenes.

“The fight scenes are really fun to watch,” Gaul said.

And the show is action-packed, Gaul said.

“There’s no waiting in-between scenes, it’s go, go, go,” Gaul said.

Runchey Smalley said the children’s theater show has a good atmosphere.

“It’s upbeat,” added Lenz. Lenz said you can make a lot of new friends being involved with the children’s theater productions.

“Everybody has a good time,” Runchey Smalley said. Gaul said being in children’s theater has made her excited about being in high school plays in the future.

After two weeks of rehearsing, learning songs and blocking and developing their characters, the young actors said they feel good about the effort they’ve put into the show.

“After you learn all your lines, it builds a better person out of you, you feel better about yourself,” Lenz said.

“It’s all worth it in the end,” Kelsey said.

“To see a show come together,” Runchey Smalley said.