Bill Householder as Snetsky in Theatre Knoxville Downtown's production of Neil Simon's "Fools." Photo courtesy of Facebook

If you’ve spent any time in any branch of the Knox County Public Library, chances are you’ve seen Bill Householder.

He might have even sent you home with a pun along with whatever items you borrowed.

Consider this recent exchange:

Bill: “Hey, I dropped your name to your boss the other day.”

Patron: “Really!”

Bill: “Yeah. I hope it didn’t hurt when it dropped.”

But seriously folks…

Bill loves books. He absolutely loves ’em.

Mention an author, and he’ll turn up the next time you see him with three or four of the writer’s works.

Tell him you only know Charles Portis from “True Grit,” and he’ll show up with “Norwood” and “Gringos” and “The Dog of the South.”

He expects nothing in return. He just wants you to read a quirky, almost forgotten, gem or two.

Speaking of quirky and almost forgotten, Bill is appearing through Sunday (June 18), in the Neil Simon play, “Fools,” at Theatre Knoxville Downtown. It’s a fun little farce about a village that has been cursed with stupidity for 200 years. Bill plays the shepherd Snetsky, or as the character says, “Something Something Snetsky, the sheep loser.” It’s not one of Simon’s best-known productions, but that’s to its advantage. You don’t  go into it expecting, oh, say, Oscar and Felix’s odd couple.

He said to be sure to say that the entire cast and crew are spectacular. That is typical Bill Householder, but it has the added benefit of being true.

Bill was a featured player at the old Theatre Central — or, as he says, “the bald guy in the occasional bad wig” — but quit volunteering community theater in 2003. However, as the curtain fell on last year’s contentious presidential election cycle, he decided to act.

Literally.

“Fools” is his second play this year with Theatre Knoxville Downtown, which bills itself as “the longest continuously-operating, non-academic theater in Knoxville.” Founded as Knoxville Community Theatre in 1976, it is now located at 319 N. Gay Street and has outgrown that space, which seats 50 patrons. The TKD is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, looking to move, a troupe that acts for love of the arts.

Don’t know if Bill will be there, but the next production, “Greater Tuna” runs July 21 to August 6.

If not, he can be found most days at a library near you. He’ll be the bald guy, probably without the occasional bad wig, but definitely sporting a sincere smile.

No foolin’…

For more info on Theatre Knoxville Downtown, call 865-544-1999 or visit www.theatreknoxville.com.

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Written by Jake Mabe
Halls jakemabe1@gmail.com 865-310-5525