Lance Scranton: ‘Fools’ teaches us to laugh at ourselves
March 26, 2013
The Moffat County High School Theater Department presented Neil Simon's "Fools" this past week, and apart from difficulty hearing some of the voices, the comedy worked well with the plot suitably driven by a very capable acting team.
"Fools" is one of those plays that can really get someone thinking, especially anyone who lives in a community over an extended period of time.
The blight of common sense encountered by the main character hints at the potential foolishness in each of us. "Fools" explores the curse of ignorance and how others perceptions can shape an otherwise benevolent people into fools.
I've never been one to worry too much about how others assess my intellectual capacity, but when ideas are challenged, some people find protection in getting personally offended. It's easy to offend these days, and students are at the mercy of a world that seems overly sensitive and overtly judgmental.
We teach a brand of tolerance in public schools that many find so distasteful that public education, for some, is no longer tolerable. A free and appropriate education, so important to our Founders, is a tricky proposition these days. But, a classic liberal education was meant to present the myriad thoughts, ideas, beliefs and theories existing and enable students to become critical thinkers — able to think for themselves.
"Fools" points out the paramount failure of identifying ourselves according to how others see us or tell us we are. It's true that a proper respect for the opinions of others is necessary but we should not be held hostage to what others say and think about us.
"Fools" teaches us that if we can laugh at ourselves sometimes (and learn in the process), we'd be better off all the time.
At least, that's what I think.