Village of Idiots
by John Lazarus
March 2-18, 2017
DIRECTED BY GORD LOVE:
Rube Goldberg machines are weird and ingeniously complicated ways to make simple things happen. Stories about the village of Chelm are a bit like that. The simple idea of the old stories was that Chelmniks absolutely believed they were blessed with wisdom—that no matter what happened in the short term, their decisions would ultimately turn out to be wise. In fact they called themselves The Village of the Wise. The humour was watching them confidently come up with ludicrous and usually disastrous solutions to simple problems—so ludicrous that Outsiders began to call them the Village of Idiots.
When penny newspapers, like the internet today, created a huge appetite for stories of any kind, authors great and minor all took a shot at writing new Chelm stories and the village population ballooned accordingly. When Jewish readers became particular fans of Chelm stories, the village became Jewish.
Playwright John Lazarus gathered many Chelm stories into one play, which has been entertaining people around the world for over 30 years. Now living in Kingston, he’ll be on hand to add his wisdom and devilish humour to our production at Domino. The problem that John himself added for Chelmniks to solve in their unique way is Cossacks. What do you do about people who just don’t find you funny and are quite ready to kill you? (Spoiler alert: the Chelmniks, in their bumbling but good hearted way, prevail.) John says, “This play is based on very old jokes and folk tales, but in these crazy times it seems, alas, truer than ever. As Miriam says, the Chelmniks may be idiots, but those other ones out there are crazy. However, if you, like Yosef, love a good story, then as Miriam says, you’ve come to the right village.” The cast of 21 is led by Angie Dorey and Damien Schaefer as two Outsiders succumbing to the charms of Chelm. The bumbling but always confident Chelmniks include Michael Chabon, Renee O’Farrell, Cassell Miles, Garrett McCrea, Poul Busk, Naomi Greer Ballance, Elizabeth Taylor and ten others. Gord Love directs, David Row designed the set, Dave Smith will handle lighting, Rachel Vandenberg the costumes, and Leslee Oliver will stage manage. It runs March 2-4th, 9-11, and 16-18 at 7:30 p.m. and it’s the Domino entry into the Eastern Ontario Drama League Festival.
Performing at the Domino Theatre, 52 Church Street
Tickets are $20 plus handling fee
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