Wednesday, April 4, 2007

New season is no joke

Company of Fools host party at home

Express Staff Writer

Francesca Alessio, 5, takes advantage of the dress-up trunk at the Liberty Theatre on Sunday. Photo by Dana DuGan

April Fools' Day in Hailey, dubbed Company of Fools Day in a proclamation by Mayor Susan McBryant, blew in with a chilly wind and a lot of laughs.

The Liberty Theatre was the scene of its resident company's annual party, Sunday, April 1, which serves as a backdrop for Core Fool members to announce the coming year's theatrical presentations.

Denise Simone greeted guests to the April Fools' party wearing a fuzzy, skunk hat. It immediately leant the proceedings the requisite silly air.

In the balcony a fortuneteller had a line waiting for her services. A poetry corner held sway on the other side. On the stage, children and a few adults took advantage of a dress-up trunk, and Donna Drier painted ponies, flowers, bats and ghosts on the soft cheeks of serious little faces.

Hailey restaurants donated lots of tasty treats, which were spread across three large tables in front of the stage. Flower arrangements from local florists were raffled off and a bake sale did a brisk business. The proceeds of the Fools' first bake sale will go to help bring Head Start children to the Company of Fools' production of "A Year with Frog and Toad," which will run from April 18 through April 29.

With an audience full of patrons, supporters and families, Simone, and her fellow core members, John Glenn and R.L. Rowsey, took the stage to announce the coming season. Glenn appeared in costume as his character, "Snail" from "Frog and Toad," and indeed, he bore the snail mail at an appropriate slow pace.

The Summer Fools Festival will be presented in proper repertory style with three plays rotating through July and early August.

"The Spitfire Grill," a musical based on the movie of the same name, will open July 3. Curtain's Up called it "upbeat and well-crafted with an enjoyable folksy score."

The second play, scheduled to open on July 7, is the return of the joyful "Shirley Valentine" with Simone in a one-woman tour de force.

On July 14, the Fools premiere Lee Blessings disconcerting drama, "A Body of Water." The play involves the fifty-something Moss and Avis, who wake up together in an isolated, mountaintop home, not knowing who they are, where they are, or if they even know each other.

The three plays will be in rotation through Aug. 5.

In October, the Fools will present the 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "Doubt." Over the holidays, Gale Lajoye is bringing his imaginative "Snowflake," a wordless and magical piece that appeals to all ages.

In February of 2008, the Fools will produce "Rabbit Hole" by hot young playwright David Lindsay Abaire, and will revisit Fools Exposed, a series of readings, workshops and guest artists' appearances.

The company will be offering a new senior's incentive package called Act II in which people over the age of 62 can buy tickets to several shows for one low price.

Rowsey, who is like a kid in a candy shop during Liberty open houses, welcomed everyone to "our home," and said, "We're so excited," about this coming season."

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