A Fable of “Fools”

Abby Krstulic, Section Editor

On Nov. 11 and 12, the BV West theatre department will be performing “Fools,” a comedy written by Neil Simon. The school previously performed it in 2005.

“Fools” is about a Russian town hit with a curse of stupidity. The show focuses on Leon Tolchihnsky, a school teacher who has a passion for knowledge.  Upon arriving in the town, Tolchihnksy, played by senior Dylan Coon, learns that he only has 24 hours to educate one of the citizens and break the curse of the town, or he will fall victim to the curse as well. After meeting his pupil, Sophia Zubritsky (played by junior Kirsti Stahly), he instantly falls in love with her and races against time to break the curse and get her to understand what love is before neither of them can comprehend it.

“It was really a hit (the first time we performed it),” theatre director Laurie Vanderpol said. “One of the photographers ended up coming back a second night to see it again because they said it was the funniest show they had ever seen.”

Students are participating in the show are also excited to perform the material.

“It’s the first show that I’ve played the love interest in,” Coon said. “Leon is a fun character and not being the villain for once is a lot of fun.”

Putting on a show might not appear to be a large time commitment; however, actors spend many hours in rehearsal after school and also preparing on their own time to make sure that their part is as polished as it can be.

“Every time I get my character, I spend about four hours with a notebook and I write down everything that I know or can think about for my character,” Coon said. “It’s a lot of fun, it’s probably one of my favorite parts about the show.”

The average amount of time given for rehearsals is five to six weeks. To ensure that the show is the highest quality it can be, Vanderpol creates a major rehearsal plan to keep the actors on track, aware of what they need to be doing, and also when they need to have things done.

“The first third of our time we do a lot of blocking and initial character work,” she said. “We work through the show piece by piece, breaking it up into pages and just really breaking it down. Then we move on and start grouping the pieces together to make scenes and start to have it flow. Then the last two weeks or so, we add all of the different tech crews- lights, sound, costumes, etc- to start to layer the show and also start to tweak and polish it.”

Students are also encouraged to be on one of seven crews, even if they are cast. Different crews include: publicity, lights, sound, costumes, props, hair and makeup and sets. Senior Stefan Peterson, head of publicity, has been on his crew since the end of his sophomore year.

“I have always liked the visual arts,” he said. “This allowed me to combine both performing and visual arts.”

Work on the publicity crew ranges from designing show posters to creating the programs given out at the performances.

“I try not to pin an entire project on one person,” Peterson said. “We all come up with design ideas and proposals and then pick one. Whoever can start it works and then I usually finish it up.”

Vanderpol feels that it is important for students in the cast to also be on a crew during a show; she constantly stresses this to her actors.

(quote here.)

Peterson also agrees with Vanderpol’s opinion.

“I think that being on a crew really helps you appreciate the show so much more,” he said. “To be able to say, ‘I built that set piece’ or ‘I made that poster’ just feels so good.”

The performance of “Fools” will start at 7 p.m. and costs $7 per person. Along with supporting the show, Vanderpol hopes that students will get involved in the department.

“There’s always a place for you in the department,” she said. “Whether it’s acting, being on a crew, being an assistant director, being a stage manager, there’s a place for you. Creative people need a place to create. That’s what we are and what we should be.”