BY KIERSTEN SIMPSON ’27
Fractured fairy tales are a common trope, and one of the best I’ve ever seen: Blood and Bows by Adelaide Lance ’25 and directed by Hunter Wolf ’25, played in two parts on October 16th and December 4th. The play opens with a noble (Ben Harris ’27) getting attacked by a mysterious, wolfish creature in the woods. In scene two, the characters leave the woods, instead entering the town next to the woods. We learn that the “monster” we watch attack a nobleman is a young woman named Rae, or Raven (Naomi Wagner ‘26) with a curse that makes her transform into a monster. The audience watches as she and her partner, Jasper (Jordan Azzinaro ‘26) connect and recall memories from their youth.
As the characters leave the town and enter their home, the audience meets the show’s closest thing to an antagonist: Jasper’s mother Astrid (Lila Sandler ‘27). Astrid proceeds to do something she does frequently throughout the show and dissuades Jasper from staying with Rae, lamenting that she is a monster and could hurt her and their child Luna (Alyssa Galen ‘27). They fight, and after Astrid leaves, Raven tells Jasper that she fears she is not what’s best for Jasper. Jasper disagrees, and the two make up.
Scene four is one of many time jumps. As we jump seven years back in time, we watch Jasper and Raven meet for the first time—a simple bumping into one another in the woods, and then meet Raven’s father, Robin Hood (Will Moyer ‘25), as in the man who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. After having his daughter, Robin Hood settles down and becomes a blacksmith for Little John (Ben Harris ‘27) and Maid Marian (Georgie Svrcek ‘25). He recruits Jasper, who is working on trying to sell goods for him and his mother’s bakery. Robin warns Jasper against going into the woods that night, and they depart.
We return to the present, where Astrid is pedaling pastries in place of Jasper. She gets into a brief but tense conversation with Marian that ends with Astrid handing Marian a pastry for Luna, their shared granddaughter.
Back in the past, Raven and Jasper meet in the woods. Raven, in her wolfish form, attacks Jasper after mistaking him for a rich man. This scene is also where we get the first clue that Raven’s wolfish form is somehow connected to Little Red Riding Hood after Jasper makes an off-hand joke about how he’s stuck in the woods like “fucking Little Red Riding Hood.” She lets him go, under the rule that he never returns to the woods.
In the present day, Robin Hood, Marian, and John all spend time together after John goes out on a mission, one concerning a looming rebellion where Robin’s involvement is much needed but minimal. This is a moment where Lance’s writing skills shine; watching fictional characters with magic powers bicker about third-wheeling makes them feel incredibly realistic.
We return to the past, where Robin is reprimanding Raven for being somewhat unsafe in her attack on the rich. Jasper shows up for his first day of interning for Robin to discover that he is testing Robin’s new weapons. He does not have the bias that Robin’s clients have, so he is able to give a clearer opinion of the weapon’s functionality than those who are seasoned with weapons. This is also where Jasper learns that Raven and Robin are related. They exchange awkward conversation—Jasper doesn’t recognize Raven from the woods, but Raven does. The moment shifts to John and Marian hatching a plan about how to get Robin more involved in rebellion and out on a mission.
Back in the present, Raven has an episode wherein she starts hearing her mother—Little Red Riding Hood’s—voice. Jasper goes out to help her, and Astrid comes to the house in search of him. She mocks Raven for her curse, which causes an argument between the two.
Scene eleven goes back in time again. Here, we get a scene with Raven, John, and Robin. Raven and Jasper have been hanging out together, and tonight they are going to spend some time alone. There’s a fair amount of teasing, which is sweet. It’s another moment where Lance’s writing shines, and it is an incredibly well-directed moment that makes you feel like you’re watching a sitcom about fairy tale characters.
The two enter the woods, Jasper and Raven bond and confess their feelings towards one another. Overcome by emotion, Raven starts to wolf out. Jasper calms her down initially, but after the two share a kiss she fully wolves out and fears that the two of them may never see each other again.
In the present day, we learn that Red has been writing letters to Raven since she abandoned the family. Robin has been hiding these letters to protect Raven, as he knows there is a lot of animosity between Raven and her mother.
In the past, we learn of Jasper’s intent to propose to Raven. Astrid, worrying for her son’s safety, makes her disapproval known, and the two argue about it. Jasper threatens to cut Astrid out of his life if she does not accept his choice.
The act ends with Raven’s mother, Red (Emma Mangol ‘24) showing up at her doorstep, profoundly surprising Raven.
Act two begins with a split scene; one with Jasper and Robin and one with Raven alone. Jasper is visibly nervous around Robin, and, in the other scene, Raven seems worried that she has fallen pregnant. Jasper, however, is not nervous about a pregnancy; he is more nervous to ask Robin for his blessing to marry Raven. Robin gives an enthusiastic blessing and declares that it is Raven that he should be worried about convincing. Jasper goes to ask Raven to marry him, but the plan is thrown awry when she reveals that she is pregnant.
The scene quickly changes to the present, where Raven is getting ready to leave to meet with her biological mother while Jasper is left to care for their daughter. Raven and Red talk. Red tries to mend old wounds, while Raven insists that her mother’s return is unnecessary because she’s been gone long enough anyway. The two come to blows, with Luna and Jasper eventually entering the scene. Eventually, the argument ends with Red vowing that she is sticking around for good this time.
In the past, we see the reconnection of Robin Hood and Maid Marian. Jasper appears, panicking over Raven’s potential pregnancy announcement. The scene then transitions to the woods, where Raven accidentally attacks Jasper while wolfing out over anxieties surrounding her pregnancy.
In the modern day, Luna, Astrid, and Red meet; it’s a tense conversation, with Astrid fiercely protective of Luna and Red fiercely interested in becoming a third grandmother to Luna. Luna is thrilled to have a third grandmother and kindly names her “Amma.”
Back in the past, John comforts Robin as he panics over his daughter’s potential pregnancy. Jasper comes out and confirms the news, and John freaks out, attacking him. Robin is not thrilled but does his best to comfort Jasper, as he has been in the same situation.
If John is mad, and Robin isn’t pleased, nobody is more upset than Astrid, who—as she often is—concerned about her son. The two fight over Jasper’s life choices. She discovers the accidental wound from Raven, which only makes her angrier. This scene is brilliantly acted by Azzinaro—who brings a real good old fashioned lover boy charm to Jasper—and Sandler—who reads like a fairy tale bitchy soccer mom.
In the present, Astrid confronts Raven and her family about Red. Marian confronts Astrid about her selfishness, claiming that she only has her own best interests at heart.
Afterward, Raven and Jasper go to the woods to have a fake sparring match. The two discuss their fears about Luna potentially carrying the same curse that Red and her children carry. Jasper tries to comfort Raven, and he succeeds. Raven is briefly quelled.
In tandem, Red and Luna find each other again. She explains the blood connection between her and Raven. Afterwards, Red and Marian meet up and Marian criticizes her for her distance from the family.
We return to the past, and Jasper promises that he will not leave her for fear of their daughter becoming cursed. Jasper gets a moment to re-propose, and Raven accepts.
In the present, Luna escapes to the woods in the middle of the night and lets out a howl, confirming Raven’s suspicions: her daughter carries the curse.
Beautifully written, Blood and Bows showcases family: the ups, the downs, the blood-related, and the made—in a truly unique way.
Photos by Coltrane Cho ’24
Kiersten Simpson ’27 is a staff writer for the Skidmore Theater Living Newsletter