“The Foreigner”, opening March 7

Image courtesy of BC Drama Dept.

“In this inspired romp, Charlie Baker is a painfully shy Englishman who must spend a few days alone in a fishing lodge in Georgia. His friend Froggy helps by telling the innkeeper that Charlie is foreign and speaks no English.
“As the locals become comfortable around Charlie, personal secrets and public betrayals are revealed and Charlie must decide if he can find enough strength to expose his own lie and save the day.”
– Larry Shue, playwright to The Foreigner.
It’s the end of the winter quarter at last, and that means two things are on our horizon: Spring, and the quarterly theater production put on through students and staff at Bellevue College.
This quarter Tammi Doyle, the Theater Department’s faculty advisor and this production’s director, has chosen The Foreigner for performance, a comedy by playwright Larry Shue.
“What happens throughout the play is that this man is unable to speak – he literally has no voice; he has problems with his wife, is shy, and says in the play itself that he has no personality.
“Through the play he holds a series of relationships with strangers – he becomes a sounding board [for everyone else in the show]. By giving them attention, he realizes the strength he has in himself.
“By feeling the attention they are being given, the other characters begin to display their true selves. Every single person is transformed through the play.”
John Dillon, a close friend of Larry Shue’s before the playwright’s passing, visited the cast during the play’s rehearsal process.
He said that Shue had gone on a trip to Japan in his younger years. Unable to speak or express himself because of the language barrier, his experiences there inspired Shue to recreate his own life experiences into The Foreigner.
To us, the South is a completely different world just as Japan was to him during his stay on foreign soil. The cast learned a lot about the play from Dillon.
“It is a small cast, so everyone being able to get to know each other was really important. Winter quarter is longer then the others so we get a longer rehearsal process. One of the biggest challenges was dialect – the main character is British, and British is very hard to do alongside Southern accents.”
Starring Fred Tsu, Tyler Sawers, Maddie Dugan, Curtis Gehlhausen, Danika Drake, Logan Wilgus and James Webster, with stage manager Melissa Russell and assistant Tim Bartz, this play is getting hype, and already starting to sell tickets.
“It is a broad, big comedy, and that means timing is everything. It has to be perfect. Like being a musician, there’s no being a ‘little off’.”
The Foreigner is playing March 7-10 at 7:30 p.m. each night in the E Building’s Carlson Theater. Doors are open to the public at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 for the general public, $10 for student and staff who bring I.D., and are available at the door or through brownpapertickets.com.