is a 1981 comedy play written by Neil Simon
. The plot involves a schoolteacher named Leon Tolchinsky arriving in the village of Kulyenchikov (located somewhere in Ukraine) in order to educate the town doctor's daughter. Leon promptly falls in Love at First Sight
with the beautiful Sophia. However, it turns out that Kulyenchikov is under a curse. The town has been cursed with stupidity for centuries. The curse also makes it impossible for Sophia and the other villagers to leave the town or grasp the concept of love. The only way to break the curse is for Leon to either educate Sophia or for her to marry another man; Count Gregor Yousekevitch. Unfortunately, Leon only has 24 hours before he too falls victim to the curse.
Fools allegedly was written as the result of an agreement Simon made with his wife during their divorce proceedings. She was promised the profits of his next play, so he set out to write something that never would last on Broadway. Given it closed after forty performances, he succeeded.
A musical version
was written by Ted Kopulos.The main characters include:
- Leon Tolchinsky - A schoolteacher who is brought to Kulyenchikov to educate Sophia. He falls in love with Sophia and vows to break the curse so that she will not have to marry Count Gregor. Leon is very intelligent but also stubborn and short sighted, making it hard for him to adjust to the wacky Kulyenchikov.
- Sophia Zubritsky - The beautiful and kind daughter of the town's doctor. Leon falls in love with her. She is the one who can break the curse as she is the descendant of the original Sophia who caused the curse. The curse can only be broken if she is educated or if she marries a Yousekevitch. Sophia is a simple soul but is much smarter than everyone gives her credit for. She craves knowledge and love and is often just as stubborn as Leon.
- Count Gregor Yousekevitch - The descendant of the family that put the curse of stupidity on Kulyenchikov. He attempts to break the curse by marrying Sophia. He believes himself to be much smarter than the others and believes himself to be smarter than he actually is. He strikes fear in the hearts of the other villagers, making them tremble tremble.
- Dr. Nikolai Zubritsky - The town doctor, husband of Lenya and father of Sophia. A true fool through and through who acts as an unofficial leader of the town. He has a tendency to belittle his wife and daughter.
- Lenya Zubritsky - Nikolai's wife and Sophia's mother. Much like her husband, she tends to belittle others but, like her daughter, she is smarter than the others give her credit for.
- Magistrate - The very old town official. He performs the important town duties like running the bell and being the minister at the wedding.
- Something Something Snetsky - The local shepherd who can't remember his own name.
- Mishkin - The postman who knows facts about the curse.
- Slovitch - The butcher who, even by Kulyenchikov standards, is very, very stupid.
- Yenchna - The local female vendor who is often made fun of for her age and appearance.
- Alexei - Leon's con artist uncle. A character added to the musical, he becomes Yenchna's love interest.
This work provides examples of: