Holiday classic treads in Hailey
By DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writer
Local theater group Company of Fools in Hailey is producing the holiday
classic, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, though the month of December at the
Liberty Theatre in Hailey.
Playwright Douglas Jones, adapted the 50-minute version of the play,
originally written in 1843. Jones also adapted Company of Fools versions of Jack
and the Beanstalk and Town Mouse and Country Mouse.
Denise Simone, associate artistic director of Company of Fools, says that
90 percent of the play is Dickens.
"Its seen through the eyes of a little boy reading the story
for the first time."
"He [Jones] put in this wonderfully playful, self-conscious telling
of the story-a horse becomes coconut shells, actors change characters by physical
adjustments." All the actors, except Chad Smith, who plays Scrooge, are playing
several characters, which makes this version a true ensemble experience.
John Glenn, director and set designer, built the set from a
"Victorian pop-out kind of post card, it kind of comes out at you," Simone says.
The story of a poor man and his struggles to feed his family, while still
providing a Christmas celebration -- and Scrooge, the cruel, uncaring man who employs him
-- has been beloved for many years in all its different productions on stage, screen and
Ultimately, it teaches the true meaning of family, the importance of love
and remembering those less fortunate. Its also an irresistible ghost story.
Prior to the show a Chorale will be caroling in the lobby with some of the
Wood River Youth Orchestra to benefit Project Respect, and Wood River Hospice. There will
be a "hat" out with a sign asking for donations, Simone says.
"It is a tradition [during the holidays] in the theatre world to give
back to community."
Playing the infamous, terminally miserly anti-Christmas Ebenezer Scrooge
is Chad Smith. While Smith is a young man, the "beauty of the adaptation is that it
asks the audience to play and suspend belief, you dont even think of [his
age]," says Simone.
The local cast also includes Tobias Wilson as Jacob Marley, Fezziwig and
Christmas Present. Nick Harman is playing the beleaguered Bob Crachit, Scrooges
nephew and the young Scrooge; while Company of Fools intern Devin Kearnes is playing Belle
and Scrooges niece. Simone appears as Christmas Past and Mrs. Crachit.
Sharing the roles of Tiny Tim, Mrs. Fezziwig and Turkey Lad are two local
students Evan Sofro, from the Community School, and Nate Theobald, a fourth grader at
Hailey Elementary school.
Company of Fools managing director R.L. Rowsey and Russell Simone Wilson,
the fourth grade daughter of Company of Fools artistic director Rusty Wilson and
Denise Simone, are doing sound effects, playing violin and piano in the orchestra pit.
Rowsey is also acting as the Chorale master prior to the show.
Along with the regularly scheduled shows, there are also five student
matinees booked. Among the schools coming to Hailey to see the performance are classes
from Camas Elementary, Murtaugh Elementary, Wood River Middle School, Bellevue and Hailey
Elementary, the whole Carey School, and the nine students from the Pioneer School in
The three corporate underwriters are the Papoose Club, Viking Components,
and Tullys Coffee. It is their participation that has allowed the Company of Fools
to offer scholarships to anyone unable to pay the ticket price.
Mitzi Mecham, who teaches signing for the deaf for the College of Southern
Idaho, is signing all but two of the shows, says Simone.
Costume designer Thomas Hammond in Richmond, Va., made the Victorian style
costumes. "They are really lovely," Simone says. "A visually neat and
different look for Company of Fools than what people might expect, like a page off a
A Christmas Carol runs through the month every weekend, evening
shows are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets for the show are
available at the box office before shows, at Read All About It in Hailey, and Chapter One
in Ketchum, or by calling 788-6520.