Few people had faith in the Fool, but he was determined to prove everyone wrong. TAM’s 46th season Family Show, The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship shows audiences of all ages that “if you’ve a heart and a noble mind,” great things are bound to happen. In this Russian fairy tale, when the Czar declares he will marry his daughter to the man who brings him a flying ship, the Fool sets off on an adventure to change his life. Along the way, he opens his heart to many new friends with unique talents and learns the power of believing in oneself, the value of friendship, and the importance of following your dreams.

Director Ian Carlsen was excited and honored to direct this production. “[TAM’s annual Family Show is] a place for both parents and their children to enjoy themselves together,” he said. “It’s important for families to share those moments, to build memories, and for young people to see their parents laughing and to laugh with them.”


Erica Murphy and Andy Blaustein | Photo by Aaron Flacke

Erica Murphy, who plays Tsarina Sophia, feels the same. “What’s so wonderful about doing [plays for families] is that the magic feels more real,” she said. “It’s so exciting to think about how many of these young people have never seen a play before. It’s incredible to be able to share that experience.”

Andy Blaustein, who plays the Fool, marvels at children’s abilities to separate the play from real life. “It’s interesting to see how much of the world they buy into or how much they realize that, ‘this is just a play.’  There are some young people that will dive into that imagination world and think ‘That is the Fool!’ but then there’s another piece of their mind that says, ‘this is a real life human being who is just an actor,’” said Andy. “It’s incredible watching them try to separate that out for themselves show after show.”

Aside from being an imaginative, animated fairy tale with spirited characters, magical sets, and colorful costumes, The Fool of the World also offers valuable life lessons for children and adults alike. “It can be hard to keep an open heart, but when you do, beautiful things happen and people come into your life in unexpected ways,” Erica said, explaining her favorite lesson of the play.


The cast of Fool of the World | Photo by Aaron Flacke

“The Fool accepts someone with large ears, someone who’s kind of geeky, and someone who eats too much. These are all people who other people wouldn’t necessarily accept but the Fool—without hesitation—says to them, ‘yes, be my friend.’ And in return, his friends give him love back,” said Andy, “There’s something to be said about the beauty of difference. As humans we have a hard time with being different, but it’s something we all deal with and accepting that is a really important lesson for children.”

This clever show has a lot of heart in it. “There are all these wonderful, crazy, larger-than-life characters, but when you look closely most of them all come from a place of kindness and generosity,” said Ian. For Andy, the heart of the play lies in that altruism. There’s just a general kindness about the show,” said Andy “The Fool shouldn’t be able to make his way in the world, he shouldn’t be able to succeed, but he does. There’s something really magical about that.”