Monday, November 5, 2012

Quick Takes With Four Clowns’ Jeremy Aluma

Robin Hood Director Talks Sets, Costumes and His First Encounter with Robin

Kevin Klein and Alexis Jones in Robin Hood.
SCR: Think back and tell me how you first got introduced to the legend of Robin Hood.

Jeremy Aluma: Fittingly, my earliest memory of Robin Hood is Mel Brooks (Men in Tights, 1993)! I remember having a sleepover birthday party in middle school and watching it with my friends. Of course, I loved the gags, puns, large characters the actors played and of course the farce of all previous Robin Hoods, which I only slightly understood.

SCR: Describe the set and costumes for me. Do they have a “wow” factor?!

JA: We settled on the concept of a forest playground early in the discussion process and truly that is what has been created. Set designer Fred Kinney has created a set complete with climbable trees, large angled fallen logs and holes to pop in and out of.

Costume designer Leah Piehl had a challenge: six actors featured in roughly 25 different roles and jumping in and out of costumes sometimes in about 20 seconds. The overall feel is that of a traveling minstrel troupe of actors, which really helped shape the concepts, colors and appearance. We wanted to keep the colors bright and vibrant and make the costumes functional and easy to put on and take off. There're a lot of wonderful elements to play with, too: fat suits, five-inch platform-sole shoes for height, weapons, hats, crowns and cloaks.

Julia Davis, Raymond Lee
and Amir Levi in Robin Hood.
SCR: What are some fun moments in Greg Banks’ Robin Hood?

JA: The moments that I imagine are going to be the most fun are the interactive parts with the audience. The call and response, Much asking an audience member to help him. Also, I think dressing Robin as a lady so he can thwart the Sheriff's plan is just hilarious.

SCR: Not to get too deep, but what are some lessons that come out of Banks’ Robin Hood?

JA: There are a number of them. Helping humanity always should come before our personal need to amass wealth. Never cheer the death of any man, even your enemy. Learn from your failures, grow from them, change from them and proceed, never give up, every great success story came with a lot of failure. Take care of nature. Love, honor and respect your friends. Help those less fortunate than you.

SCR: What do you hope audiences—young and old—will come away with from seeing Four Clowns in this production?

JA: My first goal with Four Clowns always is to entertain an audience. So it's very important that they have a good time and laugh. It's also rewarding to work with a script that has so many opportunities to interact with the audience and, of course, we've added a few more! I'd like audiences to see the nature of theater as a living, vibrant art form, unique in its ability to respond to each audience member differently. Humanity also is an important theme for me in most productions that I direct and this play has some valuable lessons; it would be wonderful for those to impact audience members, too.

SCR: In your best Robin Hood-era language, how would you issue an invitation to folks to come the show?

JA: Forsooth, me lads and ladies of yesteryore and yoreyyore! "If you desire the spleen and will laugh yourselves into stitches, follow us."

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