Tax Crisis Dramatized May 4, 5, 6

Amy Mevorach
Issue Date: 
May, 2018
Article Body: 

The Natick Drama Workshop will present their spring show, Robin Hood, May 4, 5, and 6 at Wilson Middle School. The cast is comprised of fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders, including homeschoolers and students from Wilson, Kennedy and McCullough middle schools, the Macomber Center, and Riverbend.
The popular story of the bandit who shelters and provides for poor families in Sherwood Forest may resonate with modern politics. Joel Hinrichs, an eighth grader who plays Little John, said his character “cares about the poor and helps people get through taxation.” The people of Nottingham have recently had their taxes tripled by the Sheriff who is loyal to Prince John, a hopeful usurper of the benevolent King Richard’s rule. Many people, especially the elderly, widows, and mothers with children, are impoverished and subsequently leave Nottingham to seek refuge in Sherwood Forest.
Sherwood Forest represents more than freedom from taxation. The community that has formed here is cared for in large part by a matriarchal figure, Mother Meg, played by Jessica Anderson, who cooks and forages for their gathering tribe. Nottingham, on the contrary, is a town of outrageously high taxes, heteronormity and sexist roles. The citizens sing, “Every maiden wants to marry, wants a man around the house,” and the Sheriff’s wife is known only by that appellation. “Her name is Ida,” said Zoe Napurano, who portrays this character, “but they don’t really use it in the show.”
For Ry Napurano, a fifth grader, the message of Robin Hood is about “being optimistic. There’s always a positive in every situation.” The band of hunters and foragers, however outnumbered, maintains faith and joy in their power to resist tyranny and live autonomously.
Performing the story of Robin Hood was not the driving factor for the actors’ involvement in the Drama Workshop. First, parents register online (at midnight when registration goes live, one parent recommended, or you may be on the wait list). Then, at the audition and first meeting, the show title is revealed. “It’s suspenseful,” said Ry. For this group, the experience is about being on stage, being part of a group, and making friends.
“It’s a lot of work and it’s a lot of fun,” said Priya Guruswamy. Priya is in fifth grade and plays a villager, Emmaline, the vegetable peddler. “It’s fun to be around a lot of people of different ages where people really want to do this. I’ve made a lot of friends.”
Zoe said the experience has strengthened her confidence. “It kind of shaped me,” she said. “It strengthened my acting skills, singing, and taught me about friendship and building bonds with people.”
Brianna Schneekloth added, “And how to compromise.” Brianna plays Lady Merle, who “tries to control everything.” On playing a villain, or to use a more empathetic term, character of complexity, she said, “I think there are more sides to the character.”
Joel said that Robin Hood delivers a message of hope. “Little John sees the bright side in life.” The question that Robin Hood ultimately attempts to answer is can an intentional forest community maintain their faith and autonomy when attacked by bureacractic powers?
For tickets and showtimes, visit
(Note: Robin Hood is a character from English folklore dating from the late medieval period. Nottingham is not a conjunction of Natick and Framingham, and Sherwood Forest is not based on Sherborn, although if you decide to venture into the Rocky Narrows to fact check this, remember to stay alert for coyotes.)