Dufflebag Theatre returns with Robin Hood
Whistler Question, February 25, 2014
The travelling troupe brings its improv production to Millennium Place on March 1
ALYSSA NOEL / STAFF WRITER
Growing up, Marcus Lundgren loved the good-versus-evil story of Robin Hood.
As a kid reading the book and watching the Disney movie, he didn’t quite grasp the central theme of a corrupt society, but he liked the idea of a band of merry men, slinking around the woods to steal from the rich and give to the poor. “It seemed like a fun adventure,” he said. “I was drawn to the archery and adventure, hiding in the woods and surprising people. And there are such amazing characters.”
Whistler kids will get a chance to play some of those roles when the Dufflebag Theatre – for which Lundgren serves as artistic director – returns to Millennium Place on March 1. The travelling theatre troupe brings several different productions to schools and public venues around the world. At each stop, they recruit kids from the audience to play characters in the improv show.
“We take the basics of the general story: Robin Hood, who robs from the rich to give to the poor to make things better in England when the king is gone away,” Lundgren said. “There’s a great, big archery tournament finale. It’s got a little bit of everything: good and evil, action, adventure, love, that sort of thing. It’s a really good story with lots of fun characters. We distill it down to its essence and plot.”
In Whistler, especially, the story tends to take on an unexpected international flavour, which Lundgren said he likes. “In Whistler, we get the tourists and people from all over the world coming to see the show, which is neat,” he said.
“It’s like, ‘We just pulled up someone from Australia’ and we get to add that to the show. Or someone from France is skiing on holiday and they decide to come have fun at the show. My favourite part of the whole thing is that they get to fly home and say, ‘I just saw the funniest piece of theatre in Canada.'”
Recently, he learned the show has had a lingering impact on some of the kids in the audiences. “Last week we had two emails of note. One was from a mom saying, ‘I want you to know it’s been two weeks since I saw the show and my kids are still acting it out for me and loving it.’ The other one was from a teacher who said, ‘Thanks for inspiring us. Now our kids want to do more acting and drama in school,” Lundgren said.
Besides inspiring students, Dufflebag also tries to make its productions entertaining for the adults in the crowd – particularly in places like Whistler where there are plenty of parents in tow. “We want to make sure we have a show all ages will enjoy,” Lundgren said. “We recognize it’s the parents who end up bringing the kids. Usually when we come back to a community year after year, we get more and more adults coming.”
While the theatre group has been braving the snowy roads of B.C. for the last two months, in April, they’ll head across the border for a tour of the U.S. “This year has been really busy for us,” Lundgren said. “It’s a nice problem to have. When we first started out, it was for a five-day children’s festival in London, Ont. in 1992. We thought it would last for five days, but it was so much fun people kept asking us to do stuff. Here we are, 22 years later, doing 700 shows a year.”
Tickets for Dufflebag Theatre’s production of Robin Hood are $12.50 for kids under 12, $16.50 for seniors and students, $19.50 for arts council members and $21.50 for general admission. They’re available online at artswhistler.com.
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