‘Foreigner’ will bring comic wake-up call to campus audiences

Backstabbing. Double-dealing. Two-faced maneuvering. Triple-crossing!

Catherine (played by Vanessa Oberlin) frets

Catherine (played by Vanessa Oberlin) frets over her predicament while David (played by Jeff Nichols) pleads his case. (photo: Ed Curtin)

And you thought the election campaigns were tough.

Well, to break the stress and strain of life as winter descends upon us, OSU’s University Theatre presents beginning tonight Larry Shue’s wildly comic farce The Foreigner.

Set in a fishing lodge in rural Georgia, The Foreigner demonstrates with nonstop hilarity what devilish deeds can be revealed when people think that their new guest doesn’t speak a word of English.

Passing himself as a visitor from some unknown exotic foreign country, sweet and unassuming Charlie (played by Matt Bradley) is inadvertently witness to backstabbing, double-dealing, two-faced maneuvering and triple-crossing until the play’s crazy climax and the ultimate resolution.

The Foreigner humorously confronts bigotry in its most blatant forms, and after one evening

Froggy (played by

Froggy (played by Nicholas Sheler) tries to reassure Charlie (played by Matt Bradley) that he is, indeed, safe and far from his unfaithful wife in the hills of Georgia. (photo: Ed Curtin)

performance, the theater will be devoted discussing the issues of racism and intolerance, said George Caldwell, director and professor of theater in the speech communications department.

Performances will be Nov. 13, 14, 20, 21, and 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. in the Withycombe Hall Main Stage Theatre, 30th Street and Campus Way. The play runs less than two hours and is rated PG-13 for mild language.

Throughout the play’s run, the papers of the Corvallis Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest will be on display in the theatre lobby, and the winners of past contests will be introduced before the Nov. 21 performance.

After the Nov. 21 performance, and theater-goers will be invited to join the open discussion addressing the  elements of bigotry brought forth in the play as well as the words of Dr. King.

In the play, its setting nestled in the foothills of Appalachia, Charlie’s old army buddy, Froggy (Nicholas J. Sheler) introduces him to the proprietor of the fishing lodge, 72- year-old Betty (Arianne Jacques), as a harmless foreigner who understands nothing of the United States, its customs or its language.

As the ultimate innocent bystander, Charlie in turn befriends Ellard (Bryan Bernart), who is described as “a little slow;” becomes smitten with Catherine (Venessa Oberlin), the pregnant girlfriend of the local preacher; observes firsthand hypocrisy in the actions of Reverend David (Jeff Nichols); and overhears a plan of his own possible lynching by the town redneck (Jason Myers) and the members of his “invisible empire.”

Of course, everything comes to a crashing, comic head when the lodge is besieged by a hoard of local yokels in the final scene, Caldwell said.

All performances have been sponsored in part by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Corvallis. The Nov. 21 show also will be interpreted in sign language.
Ticket prices for The Foreigner are $12 for adults, $9 for seniors, $7 for students and youth, and $5 for Oregon State University students.

Tickets are on sale at the Withycombe Hall Box Office noon- 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. They also may be purchased online at www.oregonstate.edu/dept/theatre

View a short excerpt of The Foreigner here.

Director George Caldwell introduces The Foreigner here.

Comments are closed.