By Anna Smisek – [email protected]
The production of “Fools,” put on by CSB/SJU students and directed by faculty member Sean Dooley, takes on a refreshing light-hearted tone this semester.
Written by Neil Simon, “Fools” is set in a small Ukrainian town where a young schoolmaster named Leon is hired to educate the town doctor’s daughter, Sophia. To his surprise, every citizen is cursed with stupidity and an inability to feel love. Throughout the show, Leon falls madly in love with Sophia and faces many challenges to educate her and break these magical curses.
“Fools” was chosen to give students the opportunity to try a different style since the last couple of plays have had a darker tone. It also gives the audience something lighter to see.
“The audience gets a chance to escape the stressors of the outside world and take a few hours to have some fun and laugh,” Director Dooley said.
And laugh they did.
The cast’s portrayal of idiotic characters had the audience crying in laughter.
“It is really gratifying to see people enjoy the play,” Dooley said. “It’s wonderful for the students to feel the work they spent has been rewarded; they feel like their effort is worth doing.”
Cast members had to think on the spot, as they have a lot of leeway in certain scenes. Dooley described a scene in which cast member senior Andrew Noah tries to get fellow actor junior Kyle Munshower to sit down; the scene is never the same. This particular moment was not in the script—they discovered it through rehearsal. Some things change every night, but the audience would not even know.
During the Saturday show, a hidden vine fell from the porch a whole act earlier than it was supposed to. It was an indoor scene, and the actors on stage had to react in character. The audience found their response hilarious and had no clue it was a mishap.
Many cast members agree that the production of “Fools” was a tremendous achievement. With a good balance of under and upper-classmen, the cast says they are a fun group of people that are very passionate about what they do.
“My favorite part of being in this production was getting the opportunity to work with and know such an incredible cast,” Junior Sophia Pellizzer said via email. “It was fun to work with new students in the department, and everyone was so talented and easy to work with.”
With a full turnout, there were more people interested than tickets available.
Cast members expressed that the main change they would make would be to have had a longer time span to prepare. Dooley explained by the time the shows started, students are just discovering their characters. In comedy, students learn a little bit more about their character every day and only start to get a sense of rhythm. With more time and more audience input, actors continue to grow and shift their character portrayal.
“I recommend that if you have time and are at all interested in participating in theater, go for it,” first-year Cameron Johnson said. “You get to see the world through someone else’s eyes, which is a whole new experience. Try something new, give it a shot, you get to work with a lot of great people.”
As for future productions, “Stop Kiss” is premiering in April. This play is about two women who are assaulted in the streets after sharing their first kiss. Tickets will go on sale later this semester.