What happens when you combine Neil Simon’s wit with George Mason High School’s hilarious cast? A production of the comedy "Fools."
The play follows Leon (Nathan Ward), a schoolteacher who is sent to a Russian town to educate the beautiful daughter of the town doctor, Sophia (KK Bracken). However, upon reaching the town, he stumbles upon a sheep herder, acting crazy and stupid. As he meets more and more people from the town, he finds them plagued to be eternally stupid.
When he reaches Dr. Zubritsky (Johnny Vroom)’s home, he is enraptured at the sight of the beautiful Sophia, but dismayed at the family’s stupidity. He finally reads from the “Book of Curses” (of course, a very large book), that the town is cursed with eternal stupidity unless someone can educate Sophia, or if she marries the most feared man in town, Gregor Yousekevitch (Andy Parker).
Encouraged to end the curse, Leon is determined to educate Sophia, and then ask her hand in marriage. He embarks on the difficult lesson of adding one and one together to make two. As Sophia stumbles, he realizes his endeavor is indeed greater than he imagined.
The energized performance of the actors, as well as beautiful set decorations brought Russia in the mid-1800s to life. The set, painted by Addison Blakemore, colorfully reflected the ornate patterns of the Russian town. The set was full of beautiful backdrops, cleverly making the town continue on into the distance.
Although some of the props were used ineffectively or did not fit the appropriate time period, the actors did a great job of using their props and surroundings to its fullest potential.
KK Bracken, as the empty headed Sophia, mastered the physical stupidity and idleness of her character, and provided comic relief by often bumping into walls and unsteadily walking around. Katie Gordon, as Lenya Zubritsky, Sophia’s mother, had excellent comedic timing, and used her body and voice effectively to create an older character.
Despite a few actors losing control of a scene briefly by laughing, the cast kept a maintained a high energy, uplifting performance. The entire cast had well-defined roles and worked well with each other, sharing the spotlight, while remaining involved in each scene.
George Mason High School brought new meaning to the saying “Ignorance is bliss” in its hilarious portrayal of Neil Simon’s "Fools." Leon in the end is faced with the decision of whether or not to break the town’s curse, in fear of his own intelligence.
(Cappies is a high school critics and awards program involving 50 schools in the Virginia, Maryland and D.C. areas.)