Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Family, Ambition and Social Pretensions Are Set to Stage

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Family, Ambition and Social Pretensions Are Set to Stage

Article excerpt

Byline: Tamara McClaran

A Russian play that demonstrates even the best families have a little madness in them is the Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre's next production. Fortune's Fool, which opens Jan. 13, blends comedy and tragedy.

"It's not only dramatic, but funny," said Carson Merry Baillie, ABET's artistic director emeritus and director of Fortune's Fool. "There is loads of humor in this show."

Fortune's Fool, by Ivan Turgenev, features a new adaptation by Michael Poulton. A few years ago, actors Alan Bates and Frank Langella won Tony awards for their Broadway performances in Fortune's Fool.

The setting is a rich country estate complete with aristocrats and servants who have been jolted out of tranquility by the arrival of someone from the city. Olga Petrovna (Rachel Fox), a newly married young woman, returns from St. Petersburg with her ambitious new husband, Paul (Duane Holden), who is a member of the royal court. She has inherited the estate, which she has not visited since she was a child.

An impoverished gentleman, Vassily Semyonitch Kuzovkin (Jack Barnard), a kind and gentle soul who had been taken in 30 years ago as a sort of court jester, is already living at the estate. He stayed on as a permanent guest since his own property has been tied up for years in a hopeless lawsuit.

Kuzovkin is anxious about Olga's impending homecoming, terrified that he will be dispossessed. He wonders if she will remember their special relationship during her childhood. When she arrives, he receives warm recognition.

However, things don't go as smoothly when wealthy neighbor Flegont Alexandrovitch Tropatchov (David Boyer) enters for a visit. Tropatchov is pretentious, obnoxious and filled with disdain for Kuzovkin.

Tropatchov uses a welcoming luncheon at the estate as an opportunity to fill Kuzovkin with drink then make fun of him in a cruel way. …

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