OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Comic Farce ‘The Foreigner’ Opens

11/10/2008

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University Theatre’s fall production of Larry Shue’s comic farce, “The Foreigner,” will open the 2008-09 season starting on Nov. 13. It will be held at Withycombe Hall Main Stage, 2901 S.W. Campus Way, Corvallis.

Set in a fishing lodge in rural Georgia, “The Foreigner” demonstrates 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 an unnamed 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 comeuppance. Brought to the getaway nestled in the foothills of Appalachia, Charlie’s old army buddy, Froggy (Nicholus J. Sheler), introduces him to the proprietor, the 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 befriends Ellard (Bryan Bernart) who is described as “a little slow;” he becomes smitten with Catherine (Venessa Oberlin), the pregnant girlfriend of the local preacher and in turn observes firsthand the hypocrisy in action of Reverend David (Jeff Nichols); and, he overhears a plan of his own possible lynching by a local man (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.

“The Foreigner” humorously confronts bigotry in its most blatant form and the University Theatre program will devote an evening to discuss issues of racism and intolerance. On Friday, Nov. 21, an open discussion will follow the performance, addressing the elements of bigotry brought forth in the play as well as the words of Martin Luther King Jr. Throughout the performances, the winning papers in the “Corvallis Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest” will be on display in the theater lobby. The winners of past contests will be introduced.

All performances have been sponsored in part by The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of the City of Corvallis. Additionally, the Friday show on Nov. 21 is sign language interpreted.

The Foreigner will be performed Nov. 13-14 and 20-22 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for seniors, $7 for students & youth and $5 for OSU students. Tickets will go on sale at the Withycombe Hall Box Office the week of performance from noon until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call (541) 737-2784 or go to http://oregonstate.edu/dept/theatre/.