26 august 2010.
(please pardon the terrible photoshop (not even that) skills that i’ve wreaked upon David Kinder’s beautiful picture)
as devotees no doubt recall, i mentioned in an earlier post that i neglected to include Friar Tuck in my first draft of Robin Hood. writing him in after the fact seemed a daunting task to me. however, as soon as i started including him, a lot of other pieces fell together.
this happens with me a lot: there’s a piece that i happen to leave out in writing a draft, (or as Nick Zagone might say, one of The Missing Pieces*), and when i put it back as it should be, a lot of other pieces fall into place. in this case, plot problems i was having seemed to iron out, and a welcome new attitude snuggled into place in the Merry Band.
another missing person (in a way) was King Richard, who was always set to appear on-stage in this production, but i had originally planned for him only to be seen from the back and never to hear his voice. this was (it became quite clear) a ridiculous gimmick. as soon as i gave him a voice, the end of Robin Hood came into being.
my third missing person is, alas, Allan-a-Dale. this version of the Missing Persons phenomenon is different however, in that he made the show richer by his missing-ness. after not being able to use him as originally intended, i thought “wouldn’t it be brilliant to have Allan-a-Dale as the narrator?!” which is, i then learned, so brilliant that a lot of other authors have done just that. i was left with a rather staid narrator, which is all well and good, but certainly not what i had wanted to do. and he was causing problems.
our wonderful dramaturg, Mead Hunter, pointed out that my beloved Allan-a-Dale seemed to share a specific function with a character whose purpose was clearer to me. this made me re-think what Allan-a-Dale was doing there, and i began to see how his role was at odds with other aspects of the show. after some further discussions with Mead and my partner Frances Binder (who was an excellent editor in this entire process), i saw another option for the Narrator. and by making it not Allan-a-Dale, i think this version of Robin Hood became more of its own unique take. i will say no more on that subject because i don’t want to take away all of the fun of seeing the show…
so, to Friar Tuck and King Richard, i apologize for missing you.
and to Allan-a-Dale, i thank you for going missing.
* i actually don’t know if he’d say that. but i thought it was a shameless way to plug another Fertile Ground offering…