Master Ruaidhri did get back to me, with the measured opinion that performability indeed trumps adhering to the original poetic form in this case.
Ironically, after I have rewritten a few lines that were 8 + "said Robin" or 8 + "said Little John," I may need to go back and rewrite them to their originals. I'm now thinking of staging, you see, which I should have done from the beginning...
Planning and Staging
I've only got Fytt One translated so far, but I think it's valuable to start thinking about its staging now. (Heck, the play "Robin Hood and the Potter" is pretty much the first fytt, so if it happens that this is all we can get done, we're period!)
(INSTRUMENTS do as they will; NARRATOR alerts the populace to impending performace of tales of Robin Hood.)
(INSTRUMENTS play a prelude as ACTORS gather to places.)
(INSTRUMENTS play melody and accompaniment for first fytt; NARRATOR begins singing the ballad.)
That's all straightforward. The ACTORS will be doing the dialogue for their parts; I think having them speak it would be best, if only because it gives us a larger pool of potential volunteers. (Number of people willing to speak in front of crowd > Number of people willing to sing in front of crowd.)
If the ACTORS are speaking, not singing, INSTRUMENTS will need to switch from playing the melody and accompaniment to some kind of simple accompaniment that allows for irregularities in spoken delivery, but can go right back into the melody when the NARRATOR starts singing again. Getting the timing on that down may be a bear; NARRATOR and INSTRUMENTS will need to be watching each other to stay together.
Many of the dialogue blocks are entire stanzas, but not all are. It may require some practice to interleave sung narration with spoken dialogue.
Practice may suggest that even NARRATOR should speak some parts; we'll have to see.
The fight scene should absolutely have music, but probably not the main ballad melody. Assuming that there will not be time to through-compose music specifically for the fight choreography, I'd steal a very modern page from the video game people and come up with a "song that does not end," simple tune that gets out of the way, good regular rhythm for the warlike drums to beat, that plays over and over until the fight scene is done. It should be in the same mode as the main melody, of course.
ExperimentSince the "post continuation" section of Typepad is not actually putting an LJ-cut into the posts on the LJ-feed, let me try embedding an LJ-cut in by hand: