Director Dosland needs ‘Fools’ for actors

The whole village was cursed with stupidity.

Leon was a schoolteacher, and well-versed in education. But could he get through the thick skull of Sophia Zubritsky, perhaps the least intelligent in a village of fools?

It didn’t help, of course, that he’d fallen in love with her, or that his own brains depended on his success.

Hawkeye Community Theatre’s dinner production this year is “Fools,” by Neil Simon. It’s about a village that was placed under a curse 200 years ago by Vladimir Yousekevitch, whose son was spurned by one of Sophia’s ancestors. If Leon could not educate Sophia within 24 hours, he too would fall under the curse – unless she married a Yousekevitch.

Director Kim Dosland said some of the difficulty in this play was training her actors to act dumb enough.

“Some of them were trying to play it too seriously,” Dosland said. “They thought they couldn’t be that dumb. But that’s why it’s a fun show. You can do the stuff that in normal shows you’re not allowed to do.”

They’ve gotten much better at being stupid, she said, and some in the cast really enjoy it.

“I like to think of myself as an intelligent person,” said Hannah Gjersvik, “but it’s been surprising how easy it’s been for me to become an airhead. It comes so naturally.”

Gjersvik, who plays Sophia, is appearing in her first Hawkeye performance. A student at Iowa Central Community College, she is originally from Albert Lee, Minn.

“When I first started I was apprehensive because I didn’t know anyone. So first of all, just coming together as a cast has been really fun,” she said.

Gjersvik has plenty of theater experience, but it’s been mostly in musicals.

“It’s been fun to do something that’s not song and dance numbers,” she said.

There’s been one problem, though.

“The show is so funny, since I don’t know anyone it’s hard to know when people are in character or when they’re not.”

Gjersvik said the toughest thing was learning not to laugh at others while trying to play her part.

Dylan Karr agreed.

“It’s hard not to laugh on the stage,” he said. “Every practice is hard.”

Karr plays the postman. It’s a fairly small role, he said, but becomes very important at the end of the story.

It’s also his first role in a play since fourth grade.

“I figured I might as well get back into it,” he said. “This will help with both music and possibly future plays.”