The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

South’s play tells comic fable

By Martin Paredes/south news editor

Justin Hammonds, who wore all black during rehearsal, was dressed the part of the antagonist he portrays in South’s rendition of Neil Simon’s play Fools.

“I love the fear … it tastes so good,” he said, maniacally.

South student Jimmy Linch is part of the cast of Fools, a Neil Simon play that opens April 16. Photos by Erik Marroquin/The Collegian
South student Jimmy Linch is part of the cast of Fools, a Neil Simon play that opens April 16.
Photos by Erik Marroquin/The Collegian

Fools, a comic fable, takes place during the late 19th century in a small Russian town called Kulyenchikov. The story follows Leon Steponovich Tolchinsky, a schoolteacher who takes a new job educating Sophia, the daughter of Dr. Zubritsky and his wife, Lenya.

Leon soon learns about the village’s 200-year curse that makes everyone stupid. Leon is determined to break the curse by educating Sophia, but complications ensue when he falls in love with his pupil.

Nolan Smith plays the motivated but narrow-minded Tolchinsky. Smith said portraying Tolchinsky was easier since he is similar to the character but with some major differences.

“He is much older than me,” he said. “He has different mannerisms being a teacher, and he has an accent, but it’s easier when you play a character that’s already similar to what you are.”

Courtney Cowan describes her character Sophia as a “bubble gum cheerleader” because she’s ditzy and stupid just like the rest of the town.

Hammonds plays Gregor Mikhailovitch Breznofsky Fyodor Yousekevitch or Count Gregor for short. He said that although his job is to instill fear into the townsfolk, his character had a soft side.

“He just wants to be loved,” he said. “Just like anyone, he wants to be loved by someone.”

Hammonds also said Gregor’s apathetic father played a role in making him long for love.

“That’s the reason why he is the way he is because his father himself never showed him any love,” he said.

Director and theater instructor Richard Haratine said he enjoyed the talking points an audience could take from the play.

South students rehearse Fools, a play about a schoolteacher who tries to break a curse on a small Russian town.
South students rehearse Fools, a play about a schoolteacher who tries to break a curse on a small Russian town.

“I like the things he is addressing in this play,” he said. “The nature of what we believe about ourselves depending on what people say about us, our own self-image, our self-worth, the way we value ourselves, how smart we think we are, how dumb we think we are based on what others have told us about ourselves are all major themes of the play.”

Haratine loved that Simon took what could have been a very divisive and serious play and made it into a comedy.

“The way he sets it [made] it end up being a really comical and lighthearted look at that subject,” he said. “I love anytime someone is able to talk about real and serious things in a lighthearted way.”

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