Brazos Theatre revisits its villainous moustache-twirling days next month with the return of a melodrama, though a freshly minted one.
The theater will stage “Fool Proof: Or ... Curses, Fooled Again,” written by company member B.J. Williams.
Theater director Beth Richards said the theater was on the verge of casting the stage comedy two years ago when the coronavirus pandemic hit and shut down live performances and productions.
“We kept thinking, ‘A couple of weeks and this will die down...’,” she said. “We know that story.”
Two years later, but this time with a vaccine and encouraged masking, the melodrama is back, complete with popcorn and paper wads sold to audience members wanting to throw something at the villain.
The storyline — as if they matter much where melodramas are concerned — involves a ranch owner and his wife who are closing in on paying off their property when an evil banker intervenes and rewrites the deed for himself. Throw in several cases of mistaken identity, groan-worthy lines and puns, a plot twist or two and you have what makes melodrama a family-friendly crowd-pleaser for the Brazos Theatre.
Richards said Williams wrote the play with the theater in mind, fitting characters to actors in the company and keeping the theater’s physical layout in mind in terms of entrances and exits.
A cast of 10 will perform “Fool Proof,” several of whom are also involved in the theater’s regular improv comedy nights. That experience comes in handy, she notes, when it comes to audience interaction in the form of catcalls, heckling and small flying objects.
“You never know what the audience will do and they play off that,” she said. “Sometimes they dish out what (the audience) is dishing.”
The theater will hold six performances of “Fool Proof” but a schedule filled with other stage offerings will lead to a somewhat irregular run. A Sept. 4 comedy night will push the melodrama back to a Sept. 2 opening, with a Sept. 3 evening and Sept. 5 matinee the first weekend. There’s then a break until October when the second weekend returns Oct. 7-10.