Now I’m not so concerned

Posted on Jul 29, 2010

When we first went into rehearsals for Robin Hood I was concerned with my interpretation of the police. In the show, they’re essentially depicted (with the exception of one do-gooder) as robotic bullies who just follow orders. They lack sensitivity when it comes to dealing with the social problems that plague our society and don’t so much as serve and protect the community but rather keep it in line. In line with what? The status quo, the legal system, the powers-that-be, the insert system-of-control here, etc. Was this a fair assessment? Maybe not. A broad generalization? Perhaps. However, Robin Hood is, in essence, a romance and an adventure. These genres have clearly defined bad guys and good guys with little room for the complex grey area that many of us (most of us?) occupy.
 
The classic story features guards and knights as henchmen and corrupt monarchy and church officials as the ruling bad guys. In modernizing the story, the obvious contemporary equivalent for knights and guards seemed to be the police.  Moreover, I didn’t have to look much further past the BC Liberals and federal Conservatives to find my version of the ruling bad guys. 
 
The “Cops and Politicians are bad” brush stroke I’ve painted Robin Hood with serves mainly as a comedic device. Its fun for me, as a writer, to mock and denigrate those who wield and abuse power and hopefully it will be fun for you, the viewer, the watch and laugh along with it. It’s easy to feel powerless sometimes no matter how often other people bend over backwards trying to remind us we live in a democracy. I’d argue that true democracy has never been known. Not to us. Not even close. However that, alas, is another blog post altogether.
 
I considered toning down my mockery and watering down the satire for fear of not presenting an accurate representation of society. And then I saw this:
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Heb9BXjYcII
 
And this:
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yse4FdgXS6g
 
And on the local front there was this:
 
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/07/22/bc-civil-liberties-police-push-ms-woman-video.html
 
I don’t think any of us will soon forget this. If you don’t want to see a man killed by the police then I suggest you DON’T watch this link:
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPCgwCS3viQ
 
Needless to say, now I’m not so concerned. 

-Sebastien Archibald

1 Comment

  1. Mack
    July 29, 2010

    There’s always room for the grey areas that most of us occupy. That’s what makes romances and legends both mythical and timeless at the same time: their ability to show us the reality of ourselves.

    And from what I saw in the short portion of rehearsal I watched, there are plenty of grey areas expressed in your piece. They don’t so much come from the cops or the politicians though, they come from Robin and his Merry Men. It can be entirely appropriate to use some characters as foils for the struggles that other characters go through as long as there’s accuracy, sincerity, and reality from SOME of the characters. Looking forward to seeing the rest of the play to see how this follows through.

    Reply

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