Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It?s a Fools fest

Company of Fools does repertory theater

Express Staff Writer

The musical ?The Spitfire Grill? is one of the three plays in the Fools Summer Festival featuring (left to right) Debra Wagoner, Aly Wepplo, Jana Arnold and John Glenn.

Always up for a challenge, the Company of Fools plans to keep the Wood River Valley on the cutting edge with a full summer program of repertory theater at the Liberty Theatre in Hailey.

The first annual Summer Fools Festival will rotate three plays, "Shirley Valentine," "The Spitfire Grill" and "A Body of Water" over five weeks, opening with "Shirley Valentine." Demonstrating its flexibility and resources, Company of Fools wants to give the audience an opportunity to experience the challenges of repertory theater.

"It is the first time we have attempted repertory theater," said R.L. Rowsey, musical director. "We are doing one more show than usual."

With a rotating cast of 11 actors and three directors who all more or less simultaneously work on each production, the company's performers have their work cut out for them, and they are ready.

"What we are doing is an adventure and tests everything about oneself," Rowsey said. "It is also a challenge to the community."

After attending a production of "The Spitfire Grill" last summer, both Rowsey and director and actor John Glenn wanted to bring the show to the Liberty Theatre. The play is a musical directed by Glenn, with the musical direction by Rowsey.

"It is a metaphor for our town," Glenn said. "However, we take the liberty of our own adaptation, but with a happy ending. It's about broken people, and the arc of the story is really about people finding each other."

Bringing back "Shirley Valentine," by popular demand, Denise Simone plays the title role with direction by Andrew Alburger and Glenn.

"We did 'Shirley Valentine,' four years ago, and it is a wonderful story about enjoying life," Simone said. "People ask and talk to me about my character, Shirley, all the time, wondering how she's doing and when she would be coming back."

Rounding out the repertory is Lee Blessing's "A Body of Water," a fascinating play about memory loss and identity. Discovered by Claudia McCain, who is directing the play, "A Body of Water" is a one-act play in five scenes starring Andrew Alburger, Anna Johnson and Marilyn Teitge.

"You think you have it figured out and you don't," Alburger said.

Invaluable to the Fools Summer Festival is set designer Dennis Rexroad, who is in-residence with Company of Fools and had to create three different sets that would fold up and hide in the wings of the theater.

"The first thing I do is think about how to make it all work," Rexroad said.

Fools schedule

"The Spitfire Grill," July 3, Pay What You Feel Preview; July 4; July 5-6, Educator Nights; July 12-13, 17, 21, 25; July 29, Family Night; and Aug. 2 and 5.

"Shirley Valentine," July 7, Pay What You Feel Preview; July 8, Family Night; July 10-11, Educator Nights; July 19, 22, 24, 27 and Aug. 1 and 4.

"A Body of Water," July 14, Pay What You Feel Preview; July 15, Family Night; July 18 and 20, Educator Nights; July 26, 28, 31 and Aug. 3.

Show times are 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Call for tickets Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Liberty Theatre box office 578-9122. Tickets also available one hour before curtain.

$25 for adults, $18 for seniors 62 and over and $15 for students 18 and under. Passes for multiple shows and "10 for$10" seats are available.

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