FARMINGTON — As Chris Jahrling was preparing for his role as Robin Hood in the upcoming Bottom of the Barrel play, he watched "Robin Hood: Men In Tights" to get into character.
He'll put all of that preparation into action when the play, "Robin Hood," opens at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Farmington Civic Center.
Jahrling described Robin Hood as flamboyant and arrogant. Unlike other actors in the play, he has an unique connection to Robin Hood. His great-grandfather played one of the sheriff's men in Errol Flynn's 1938 film "The Adventures of Robin Hood."
"It's been on my mind in this play," Jahrling said.
However, Robin Hood fans won't find the familiar bow and arrow. Instead, this Robin Hood wields a staff.
Zane Echols, a renaissance sword fighting instructor with 17 years of experience, served as the combat choreographer for the play.
Echols said the combat practice has actually occupied more of the actors' time than memorizing the lines.
For example, while Lizzie Foutz, who plays Maid Marian, only has five minutes of combat, she had to spend two hours learning the moves.
"She's a warrior princess," Foutz said describing Maid Marian.
Echols explained that plays are different than movies because people can't alter camera angles to help suspend disbelief.
"These guys are actually within range to hit each other," Echols said.
The cast of 15 members ranges in age from 11-year-old Cassidy Harris to experienced actors in their 50s and 60s, such as Tim Bagley, who plays the sheriff.
"Playing someone evil's always fun," Bagley said.
He said he does research to determine his character's back story.
"Is he really evil, or is he just perceived that way?" Bagley said.
During the play, the sheriff punishes a serf who is having trouble paying the high taxes while making enough to feed his daughter. Harris plays the daughter and even has a song she sings. She said that while acting, she pretends that it is her mom, with whom she has a really close relationship.
"I like how I can express the feelings of having my dad taken away from me," Harris said.