Friday, July 12, 2024
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Community Players’ production of Marian a good evening of summer fun

Glen Hartle
Bristol August 23-26, 2023
The Pontiac Community Players presented their latest offering at Coronation Hall on the evenings of August 23 through to 26.
Marian or The True Tale of Robin Hood takes a well-known tale and mashes it up with a bit of Shakespeare’s gender-bending fluidity where the gender of the actor and the gender of the role being played were often not always in sync, and even when they were in sync the audience was left wondering, often aloud, “is that a man or a woman?” Salt this with a woman playing the role of a man who is actually a woman pretending to be a man and comical chaos seems a logical outcome, much in the way of the bard himself.
Throw in a bit of Mozart’s gender-stereotyping where comedy was often derived from painting genders with broad strokes of “they are all like that” and you have a fully amusing and somewhat confusing story that seems familiar except that much of the familiarity has been thrown out the window. Written by American playwright Adam Szymkowicz in 2017, the play has been widely presented and this likely marks the inaugural official presentation north of the border.
Director Tanya Leigh Maguire marked her fourth, and final, directorial effort with the troupe and, in opting for Marian, she chose a challenging piece of theatre. The roles are multi-faceted and the actors need to both convince and confuse the audience in sufficient quantities for entertainment but not be so aloof in their presentations as to lose them in a storyline that moves quickly.
In this, the play was a success and the laughter from around the near-hundred-year-old dance and theatre hall provided fine testimony to that effect.
As is often the case in community theatre, and what was certainly the case in many Shakespeare plays and Mozart operas, actors are often asked to play multiple roles, and such was the case with Marian.
Making their stage debut with the Players were: Greg Goyette as Prince John, Raven Kingsbury as Much The Millers Son and Sir Theo, Darlene Pashak as Tanner, as Sir Lenny the Observant, and as a Guard, and Andrew Poirier as Little John. Ava Schellenberg made her second appearance with the troupe as Tommy of No Consequence and as a Guard.
Both Goyette and Poirier made strong debuts with a tall Goyette providing a wonderfully flamboyant portrayal of Prince John, whose character had been modernized into a rather broad gender amalgam. His delivery of the title line here, while squeezing a rubber chicken, was delightfully silly. Poirier made his inaugural acting turn as Little John a memorable one and crafted a stage-born and big-hearted BFF who endeared himself to all. This is hopefully just the beginning for these two actors.
Veteran actors included Tanya Leigh Maguire as the title characters Marian and Robin Hood, Leona Tanguay as Allanna (Alan) Dale, Emma Findlay as Will Scarlotte, Cadence Beck as Lucy (she also acted as assistant stage manager and was ready in various understudy roles should the need arise), Gavin Murray as Friar and Sheriff, and Sydney Côté as Shirley. Will Bastien was ready as King Richard and once again set his creative talents to stage design and construction, as well as costumes and stage management. Aggie took care of lighting and sound and Linette Chiasson, the poster.
Maguire brought her enjoyable and emotive style of acting to bear and carried the bulk of the plot line. Tanguay channeled her inner Melissa McCarthy and offered wonderful side-kick-style moments to go with her task of generally narrating the storyline and ensuring the audience followed along.
All in all, it was an evening of good summer fun that will forever leave the audience considering Robin Hood a persona we need to ensure lives on, for all our sakes.

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