It’s been an annual April Fool’s tradition for a decade and then some, but when Hailey’s Company of Fools merged with The Sun Valley Center for the Arts last year, some things were bound to change.
That doesn’t mean the Liberty Theatre will be dark; in fact, since the merger, the possibilities have grown larger than ever with the pooled resources.
This week, in conjunction with Higher Ground, The Center will host a panel discussion called “Returning Home,” which will look at what happens when a soldier comes back from deployment.
The public is invited to the Liberty Theatre in Hailey on Thursday, April 4, at 6:30 p.m. for a free discussion moderated by Bert Gillette, military outreach officer from Higher Ground, and including Lt. Col. Tony Forbes, the Army’s national director of the Office of Warrior and Family Support; Navy SEAL Pete Scobell; Christina Valentine, wife of a deceased Navy SEAL; Trina McDonald, a Gulf War veteran featured in the film “Invisible War”; and a medical professional experienced in working with post-traumatic stress disorder.
On Friday, April 12, at 7 p.m. at The Center in Ketchum, the company will read Donald Margulies’ “Time Stands Still.” The play follows a photojournalist who returns home injured from the battlefields of Iraq after years of dashing from one conflict zone to another. When her reporter boyfriend makes a pitch for domesticity, Sarah must choose between the dangerous life she craves and the physically safe life that she doesn’t quite understand.
Then on Thursday, April 18, at 7 p.m. at the Liberty there will be a free reading of its newly commissioned piece, “Guiding Light,” by Clay McLeod Chapman. Following the success of Company of Fools’ first commissioned play by Chapman in 2009, “Commencement,” the public is invited to share in the process as this play is read. The play revolves around a medium, Tabitha, who is able to communicate with the spirits of soldiers who died in the line of duty—or so she says.
Then, from July 2-27, the 18th season of the Company of Fools will begin with the play “Other Desert Cities” by Job Robin Baitz.
Vogue magazine said this “scathingly funny, deeply felt family drama is the tastiest, most entertaining new play of the season … with a wisdom and compassion—and sureness of touch—that make this his most mature, moving, and flat-out enjoyable work to date.”
The play’s main character, Brooke Wyeth, returns home to Palm Springs after a six-year absence to celebrate Christmas with her parents, her brother and her aunt. Brooke announces that she is about to publish a memoir dredging up a pivotal and tragic event in the family’s history—a wound they don’t want reopened. In effect, she draws a line in the sand and dares them all to cross it.
The cast, under the direction of Company of Fools’ founder Rusty Wilson, stars three of the valley’s favorite actors—Keith Moore, Denise Simone and Patsy Wygle, as well as New York City-based actor Hanna Cheek. Helen Shaw of Time Out New York had this to say of Cheek: “Hanna Cheek is an actor of rare gifts, and someday Hollywood will steal her, so you have to snatch at every chance to see her onstage.”
Tickets will go on sale starting May 20.