Synopsis: the Foreigner. In a rural fishing lodge in Georgia, Froggy LeSueur, a British demolitions expert who sometimes runs training sessions at a nearby. When everyone in the lodge thinks that Charlie does not understand a word of English, people speak freely around him and he learns some. FOREIGNER. 5M, 2W. BY LARRY SHUE. The scene is a fishing lodge in rural Georgia often visited by “Froggy. LeSeuer, a British demolition.
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The Foreigner is a two-act comedy by American playwright Larry Shue. The play has become a staple of professional and amateur theatre. Naturally shy, Charlie is also depressed because his beloved wife may be dying.
To help his friend, Froggy tells Betty Meeks, who owns the lodge, that Charlie is the native of an exotic country who does not understand a word of English. Betty, who has never traveled, is delighted to cater for ghe stranger who is “as foreign as the day is long. At once, though, Charlie overhears a private and emotional conversation Catherine discovers she is pregnantand decides he had better perpetuate the ruse.
Before long, Charlie finds himself privy to assorted secrets and scandals freely discussed in front of him by the other visitors. These include spoiled but introspective heiress and Southern belle Catherine Simms and the man to whom she is somewhat reluctantly engaged, the Reverend David Lee, a seemingly good-natured preacher with a dark side.
Her younger brother, Ellard, a somewhat “slow” boy often thought of as a young Forrest Tge [ citation needed ] is a simpleton who tries to “teach” Charlie how to speak English.
The Foreigner |
Owen Musser, the racist county property inspectorplans to oust Betty and convert the lodge into a meeting place for the Ku Klux Klan. When Charlie overhears David and Owen plotting the takeover by declaring the lodge buildings condemnedhe spends the weekend pretending to learn a great deal of English very rapidly under the tutelage of Ellard. He also pretends to speak his “native” language, with much repetition of the phrase “blasny, blasny” and other words that sound vaguely Russian.
Owen finds Charlie alone and threatens him, saying that when the Ku Klux Klan is in power, they will kill all the foreigners. With the help of the trap-door to the cellar, Charlie appears to disintegrate a Klansman, and the rest run away in terror. David is unmasked, confesses all to Catherine he was marrying her for her moneybut exclaims that he can start again from scratch as long as he has the weapons in the van.
Froggy appears in the doorway, arms his detonator and blows up the van. With the threat vanquished, the protagonists celebrate. Froggy takes Charlie aside to give him a telegram, saying that perhaps Charlie can remain at the lodge a little longer.
Betty expects that he has received news of his wife’s death. It was from ‘is wife. Ran off with a petrologist. It was directed by Jerry Zaks. Larry Shue died in a plane crash the following year, not living to see the continued popularity of The Foreigner. Matt Chirioni directed the production with Tom Hansen as set designer. Frank Rich saw the opening night performance at the Astor in New York. He praised the performance of Anthony Heald as Charlie and wrote that the play “desperately wants to provide some silly fun,” but judged that “its convoluted shenanigans hardly seem worth the effort.
Watching Matthew Broderick, initially almost wordless in the title role of Larry Shue’s “The Foreigner,” provides a delightful lesson in the art of listening. But Broderick also excels in wacky mime, in nutty acrobatics, in nonsense storytelling and in modest charm as his Charlie Baker undergoes a growing self-realization. Being the deadpan witness to secrets drives Shue’s unlikely but often very funny play, which opened off-Broadway inonly a year before the playwright’s death in the crash of a small plane.
Broderick takes full advantage of every absurd turn of events in Charlie’s strange interlude Carried away by his own whimsical imagination, Tye performs an intricate and extended act of imitative ritual with Kevin Cahoon’s goofy, gangling Ellard, recalling the mirror game played out between Groucho and Harpo in Duck Soup. Here, with a juice cup atop his head, Broderick follows Cahoon through an increasingly ridiculous sheu of silent poses and silly dances, warming larrh the liberating fun of finding a soul mate.
At its silly, romantic heart, The Foreigner traces the opening up of a repressed sad sack, who even manages to find true love in Mary Catherine Garrison’s bitter, regretful Catherine. Ben Brantley, reviewing the same performance for The New York Timesdescribed it as a “deliberately doltish comedy of improbabilities.
Broderick floats toward that rarefied ether where slapstick and ballet blur. This actor’s delight in cutting loose infectiously mirrors his character’s liberation from his stodgy self. One reason Larry Shue’s “The Foreigner” is so frequently performed is because it’s one of the few modern comedies that remains foreiigner to human nature despite its absurd excesses.
Another reason is that it’s outrageously funny.
The Foreigner (Play) Plot & Characters | StageAgent
If those aren’t grounds enough to enjoy an evening at the theater, toss in the incentive of Tom Alderman’s handsomely staged Pasadena Playhouse production at the Lobero Theatre as a first-rate cast guides us sure-footedly through Shue’s exploration of the comic possibilities suggested by an initial false impression. Marty Clear, writing for the Tampa Bay Times about a production, said.
Playwrights seldom forreigner farce these days, and theater companies lagry produce it. One reason, no doubt, is the high risk-reward ratio. Farce is frothy entertainment, but by definition it’s dense and complicated. If the writing isn’t scrupulously clever the plots can become muddled, and if the performances aren’t precise the humor can cross the line thw joyful silliness into abject stupidity.
Chicago Theater Beat called the play “a charming comedy about the magic of kindness”,  and DC Theater Scene described a performance by the Bay Theatre in Annapolis, Maryland, as “a hit! From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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Dramatists Play Service, Inc. Retrieved August 17, Retrieved August 16, The New York Times. A first-rate cast adds good-natured humor to a play about a shy Englishman who is vacationing under false impressions”.