Friday, November 18, 2011

Night at the Theater: The Foreigner

Donna and I attended our third theatrical production at ASU (Angelo State University) last night. We had a good time.

This event was a dinner theater, so the night began about 7:00 PM as we were served a Southern style dinner of barbequed chicken, fried catfish, and trimmings.

The real fun began with the play. The Foreigner, a comedy written by Larry Shue, is a 2-act play set at Betty Meeks' Fishing Lodge Resort in Tilghman County, Georgia, sometime "in the recent past." Based upon references in the play, I'd estimate that "recent past" to be the early 1980s.

The lodge is often visited by "Froggy" LeSeuer, a British demolition expert who occasionally runs training sessions at a nearby army base. This time Froggy has brought along a friend, a pathologically shy young man named Charlie who is overcome with fear at the thought of making conversation with strangers. So Froggy, before departing, tells Betty, the owner of the lodge, that Charlie is from an exotic foreign country and speaks no English. As a result, Charlie soon finds himself privy to assorted secrets and scandals freely discussed in front of him by the other visitors — the evil plans of a sinister, two-faced minister and his redneck associate; the fact that the minister's pretty fiancĂ© is pregnant; and many other revelations made with the thought that Charlie doesn't understand a word being said. That he does understand fuels the remainder of the play.

The play is well written, with many cleverly written lines and numerous funny situations. I found myself laughing out loud more than once, and I normally don't laugh much at productions, whether live plays or movies or TV shows. In fact, this play is the winner of two Obie Awards and two Outer Critics Circle Awards as Best New American Play and Best Off-Broadway Production. 

This is the best play we've seen produced at ASU so far. The acting was much more natural, especially by supporting cast members. Actors who had to use accents/dialects were very convincing considering the amateur status of the cast. And the set design was well done.

If The Foreigner should happen to be performed near you, I highly recommend that you make every attempt to see it; I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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