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The villian makes the play worth the trip.

Posted Monday, February 11, 2008, at 11:35 AM

I went to see a play Saturday night. I couldn't get out of Nevada after editing the Sunday edition in time to go to Independence to see the FSCC basketball games, so a friend of mine. Laura, and I decided to go to a play at another high school in the region.

The drama department chair at this high school, Heather, was a friend of mine in college and she's been sending out mass e-mails for the past couple of years promoting her plays. I was always kind of flattered that she would extend me such invitations and Saturday afternoon, once I determined there was no way to get from Nevada at 12:30 to get to Independence, Kansas, by 2 p.m., I figured, "What the heck?"

The play was a Neil Simon comedy, "Fools." It's set in a Russian village. The basic plot is that a school teacher comes to the little Russian town because he saw a help wanted posting for one.

The twist is everyone in the town is dumber than a box of rocks. It seems a curse was placed on the entire town years ago by a spurned love. The daughter of a wealthy, sophisticated townsman was the object of the affection of a poor, illiterate man. He asked her hand in marriage but the father forbid it. The young man, spurned, cursed the town to eternal feebleness. The people living there became instantly stupid and anyone born there was doomed to be stupid as well.

There is love, treachery and trickery in the play. Of course, in the end, the hero gets the girl and the curse is lifted -- it turns out the people became stupid only because they believed in the curse and those who had been born since believed the were stupid only because they had been told repeatedly that they were.

The play was well done. Everyone we saw in this cast played their parts well. As it turned out, my old friend had double cast every role to give more of her students a chance to participate. It also worked out that there were two casts because there were two performances on Saturday.

My friend decided that both of her casts would have a little touch of melodrama in their productions. And if you ever went to the Fort Scott melodramas every summer, then you know that a great villain makes the melodrama.

And Heather's 7:30 p.m. Saturday villain was excellent. He played to the audience. He was sneaky. He was funny. He was dressed in black with a cape. He was diabolical.

He was perfect. I wish I hadn't lost the program; I'd put his name on here. He deserves the props.

I'd like to thank the cast and crew of that play for an excellent performance that made a 70-mile trip well worth the effort.

Heather…thanks for the invitation. We loved every second of it.

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