Russian tale brought to life

“The Fool of the World,” a famous Russian folktale originally written for children, will come to life under the direction of senior Thomas Benoist this semester.

Benoist was introduced to the script last year while working on another student’s senior project, “Grimm’s Tales.”

He chose to direct “Fool” for its youthful qualities.

“Theater has helped me find a way to escape the everyday hardships that we all have,” Benoist said.

“Fool,” with its light humor and childish adventure, does just that.

Benoist’s focus is in children’s theater and education, and he said if his rendition of “Fool” is a hit at Butler, he hopes to take it to the Christel House Academy—where he teaches—and cast it there.

“The Fool of the World” is a story that has been retold in many different ways.

A variance in the version Benoist will be working from is that the fool Dimitri meets a nomad, Peter.

Peter shows Dimitri the magic within him as they travel throughout the world and beyond, meeting many different people.

Dimitri finds a flying ship and meets the Tzarina of Russia.

She tells him to take his flying ship and fetch her the heart of the cloud so that he may, in turn, win her heart.

By the end, he finds the heart of the cloud and wins the Tzarina’s heart, thus proving that one should never let go of the desire for adventure and fun.

Because the show was originally written for child actors, Benoist and his team had to take some parts out and change some things, said sophomore Gloria Graham, the stage manager.

Though this initially seemed like a daunting task, Graham said her crew worked to make the process far easier than anyone thought it would be.

“The production is definitely a break from the normal college life,” Graham said. “It’s fun, and there is a lot of kid humor. The main characters take it to a whole new, ridiculous level.”

Freshman Taylor Galloway plays the role of Dimitri.

He said Dimitri’s innocence and globetrotting curiosity are what drew him to the character right away.

“Everything is new to him, and he experiences everything with a sense of awe and childhood innocence,” Galloway said.

Benoist said audiences who  come see the show will be in for  a night of fun.

“It brings me back to my childhood because of the character Dimitri, who has such a vivid imagination—which is important for us all to continue to have,” Benoist said.

When he graduates in May, Benoist said he hopes to continue working with children so that they can experience his passion for theater.

Admission to the show is free. Two previews and two showings will take place in Lilly Hall 328.

The previews will be on Feb. 6, at 9:30 p.m. and Feb. 7, at 8 p.m. The regular shows will be held, Feb. 8 and 9, at 8 p.m.

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