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A&E BRIEFS Booker High students starring in the production of Neil Simon's Fools are (from left) Jordan Boyer, Ellie McCaw, Ryan O'Dell, Rachael Henry, Aaliyah Harris and Solo Matelau. Contributed photo BOOKER HIGH STUDENTS TO STAGE NEIL SIMON'S FOOLS DEC. 13-14 The Booker High School Visual and Performing Arts Theatre Department will stage Neil Simon's comic fable Fools at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13-14, in the school's VPA Theatre, the school has announced. "From the canon of one of the most popular comic playwrights of the 20th century, Fools serves up plenty of laughs while exploring the idea of how people respond to preconceived notions about themselves," a news release points out. "The show centers on Leon (Ryan O'Dell), a schoolteacher who travels for work to the small Ukrainian village of Kulyenchikov, whose inhabitants are hopelessly, farcically stupid," the release continues. "When Leon meets his employer's daughter, Sophia (Rachael Henry), he falls instantly in love, despite the fact that she, too, is a fool. He comes to find out that the widespread idiocy is no coincidence; the town has been under a spell for 200 years, and the citizenry is doomed to stupidity until the spell is broken. The power to lift the spell is in Leon's hands, and it can only happen if he is able to educate Sophia within 24 hours." Director Natalia Mock, a Booker High VPA Program adjunct faculty member, says in the release that the department chose the play for a number of reasons, not the least of which is Neil Simon's legacy.

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