Franklin Countys First News

Neil Simon’s Fools staged at Mt. Blue May 16-18

Seated-Noah LePage L-R Anja Nordstrom, Astra Pierson, Cat Goding, Josiah Chapman, Logan Ross, Taylor Withey, Tyler Sennick

Rehearsing Fools, seated at center, Noah LePage; from left to right: Anja Nordstrom, Astra Pierson, Cat Goding, Josiah Chapman, Logan Ross, Taylor Withey and  Tyler Sennick. (Photo courtesy of Debby Muise)

FARMINGTON - Fools by Neil Simon will be produced by the Mt. Blue Theater Company 7 p.m. on May 16, 17, 18  at the Presentation Forum on the Mt. Blue Campus in Farmington.

The play centers around Leon Tolchinsky (played by Noah LePage) an ambitious young school teacher commissioned to teach Sophia Zubritsky, (Taylor Withey), daughter of Dr. Nicholai, (Josiah Chapman), and Lenya Zubritsky, (Cat Goding). When he arrives in the village of Kulyenchikov he meets a shepherdess, (Kristyn Wiles), who’s lost her sheep and the ability to remember her first name, a vendor, (Astra Pierson), who is selling flowers as whitefish, and a postman, (Anja Nordstrom), who keeps all the mail.

As you can see, it’s a peculiar town, and Leon soon hears of the curse of stupidity that afflicts the village. In order to lift the curse he needs to teach Sophia and quickly! Will he manage to lift the debilitating plague over this vacuous Ukranian town or will he, too, become just another bumbling idiot in this town of fools? Other cast members who will help answer this question include Logan Ross as the aged Magistrate, Tyler Sennick as Slovitch, the Butcher, and Randon Kelly as the evil Count Gregor of Kulyenchikov.

The story goes that Neil Simon purposely wrote Fools as a flop when his ex-wife was granted the proceeds from his next play in a divorce settlement. While it didn’t run very long on Broadway, it has been continuously staged throughout the country in community theaters and high schools including a version at Mt. Blue over a decade ago that was a real crowd pleaser.

The show is pure lunacy, and that escape into something completely viscerally hilarious is what the director, Deborah Muise, was looking for in a play at the end of this year. “It’s been a crazy year with all the construction here--lots of adjustments and changes have had to be made. While the students and staff have all done remarkably well, now we all just deserve to sit back and laugh. The last time we staged this show, there were lines around the cafeteria waiting to get inside.”

Tickets for students are $2.50 and $4.50 for adults.

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