Puns, one-liners and questions flew around the stage of
Westview High’s beautiful theatre on Saturday, November 7, 2009 as the
charming cast tried to reverse romantic curses and answer the proverbial
question “What is the purpose of man’s existence?”
Well, the audience may not have had the answer to the last question, but
it certainly knew the answer wasn’t “12”, as the comical Dr. Zubritsky
declared. One thing the
audience did know is they were in for quite a night of foolish comedy well
It’s 1890 in the remote Ukranian town of Kulyenchikov.
Leon, a young and handsome schoolteacher played by the talented Connor
Bush, learns that he has only 24 hours to break a centuries-old curse that
has turned all the residents of this town stupid.
Should Leon fail, then he will lose his ability to think and become
subject to the curse as well. Leon
can break the spell only one of two ways. First,
he can find a way to educate the doe-eyed beauty Sophia Zubritsky, played with
sweet sincerity by Annie Buell.
Or Leon can find a way to convince the townspeople that Sophia has
married a Yousekevitch, the family that long ago brought forth the evil curse.
But Leon has a problem, for one look at the beautiful Sophia and he is
smitten. Now Leon must worry about
Count Yousekevitch (Eugene Shtilkind)
stealing Sophia’s hand before Leon has a chance to make everything right.
Director Douglas C.
Smith has fun with this romantic comedy, using Set Designer Alexandria
Allen’s multiple-level set to recreate a slapstick version of
Shakespeare’s balcony scene, with poor Leon climbing up, only to find his
airhead Sophia down on the ground. Bush
plays the frustrated Leon well, keeping the audience apprized of his thoughts,
and moving quickly between puns and repartees.
Meanwhile, the audience can almost see the fog surrounding Buell, and the
moment it lifts.
But perhaps the most delightful surprise of this romp is
the inseparable team of Dr. and Mrs. Zubritsky, played by Bill Wuehrmann and Erika
Dukovich, respectively. Together,
these two actors have the greatest number of puns and one-liners, and they savor
their role. They are completely
believable as an old married couple and doting parents.
For both the jokes are never forced, and Dukovich uses physical comedy
with ease. Another actor worth
special note is Kirsten Miller, who
plays the sheepless shepherd Something Something Snetsky.
The moment Miller stepped on stage, this reviewer found herself hoping to
see more of Miller. Miller’s intonation was excellent and she played well off
her fellow actors.
All wasn’t fun and games.
At times, the jokes dragged a bit. For
a comedy like Fools to work, the pace
must be very fast indeed, and when moving so quickly, articulation is a must so
the jokes are received by the audience. But
the actors clearly enjoy the play and each other, and their energy and
enthusiasm are readily apparent, from the lead players to the ensemble and their
most excellent wedding dance. We in
the audience may never be given the answer to the question “what is the
purpose of man’s existence”, but in this production, to paraphrase Mrs.
Zubritsky, “Aren’t puns beautiful enough?”
Performs November 5-14, 2009
Christine B. Mersten
National Youth Theatre
~ Cast ~
Leon – Connor Bush
Snetsky – Kirsten Miller
Slovitch – Sanket Padmanabhan
Magistrate – Austin Anderson
Mishkin – Michael Pogerbinsky
Yenchna – Rachel Pence
Dr. Zubritsky – Bill Wuehrmann
Lenya Zubritsky – Erika Dukovich
Sophia Zubritsky – Annie Buell
Gregor Yousekevitch – Eugene Shtilkind (and Josh Walden on Nov 14)
The Cow – Kelly Martin
Asst. Director: Emily
Stage Manager: Stephen
Producer: Lauren Zinn
Production Manager: Kirsten
Set Designer: Alexandria
House Managers: Shawn
McCombs, Roxy Sadri
Asst. Stage Managers: Sami
Dalvano, Nicole Valderez