***We want to do a better job highlighting the great work our members do out in the community, even when they're not singing or acting or foolin' around with us. As such, we're starting a blog series called "Fools In:" that features commentary, behind the scenes photos, and other inside information, delivered to you straight from Fools participating in upcoming local productions and events.***
Hypo-Theatricals founder and executive director, Dakota Simpson, leads several Fools (including himself) in the upcoming production of The Government Inspector at Cal Arts Severance in the Tower District. Promotional material describes the play as "a wild, farcical romp through dim-witted Russia." Other Fools involved in the show include S'willers Randy Kohlruss and Justin Ray, along with Damen Pardo, who is the world's best Sinnta (that's a Harley Sinn Santa reference, for those of you who missed out on last year's Joyful Noise cabaret). Other cast members include Michael Brandon Fidalgo, Will MacDonald, Scott Champan, Jesse Parr, Hannah Weyant, Brittany Zenz Toschi, Laura Hay, and Alexis Macedo.
We chatted with Simpson about his reason's for picking the play and his experience working with this particular cast and creative team.
So, tell us about the plot.
The corrupt officials of a small Russian town, headed by the Mayor, react with terror to the news that an incognito inspector will soon be arriving in their town to investigate them. The flurry of activity to cover up their considerable misdeeds is interrupted by the report that a suspicious person has arrived two weeks previously from Saint Petersburg and is staying at the inn.
What is/are your role(s) for this production?
I'm the director and I play the The Doctor and Penteleyvy.
Why bring this particular show to town?
I chose The Government Inspector because, looking around the Valley, people are trying to provoke audiences with fierce drama and fierce family dynamics and fierce fighting of racial prejudice... but there's no fierce farce to be found. One of the oldest forms of theatre that can talk about all these issues in the world, and no one wants to take it on.
What's your favorite part of the production?
My favorite part of the show is falling in love with how new and fresh it feels every night we perform this piece.
What have you learned from this experience?
I learned a lot about ensemble theatre and in approaching this I tried to delve deep into movement, tableaux, devised theatre and just building a hive brain within the company.
What do you think audiences will enjoy most about the production?
I think audiences will appreciate seeing some new faces in town. A lot of these actors perform in college shows or in Selma (and we've brought some out of hiding), so I think it will be nice to see a fresh group of hilarious actors in the community. This show is such a powerful piece to me because not only is it well crafted comedy, but it touches on the deep parts that make us human. It is very much a piece about absolute power and mans' lust for it.
The Government Inspector opens tonight (May 23rd) at 8:00 PM. Tickets are $15 General admission, with $5 discounts for students, seniors, and military members. The show runs this weekend for four performances only, and closes on Sunday with an evening show. For more information on purchasing tickets, visit the show's brown paper ticket link, here. The company also accepts cash, Venmo, and Cash app at the door.