A senile old woman, a newly impregnated soon-to-be preacher’s wife, a goofy young girl, and a foreigner: what seems to be the start of a very bad joke is actually the hilarious plot of the upcoming New Players’ production of The Foreigner. Each year, the New Players Company puts on six productions, including three plays, one musical, one festival of student written one-acts, and one collection student directed concert scenes. Starting off this upcoming season is the hilarious comedy written by Larry Shue and directed by Nate Hamm, featuring only seven New Players upperclassmen. Sam Flynn (senior) is taking on the titular role of the foreigner, Charlie Baker. After being coerced by his military friend, Froggy LeSueur (Morgan Mastrangelo, senior), to leave his sickly wife and travel to a Georgian hunting lodge to relax, Charlie’s social anxiety results in an elaborate lie. This lie traps him as a non-English speaking foreigner who cannot communicate with the other guests. Betty Meeks (Patricia Joseph, junior), the widowed lodge owner, finds excitement in Charlie. Catherine Simms (Abby McKenna, senior) finds a confidante, while her sister Ella (Kathryn Kearney, junior) finds a student. However, Charlie gains too much confidence in his foreignness, Owen Musser (Jack Mathey, senior) is sent over the edge, and Reverend David Lee (Michael Crowe, Junior) begins to seek a new religion. In summary, things happen and hilarity ensues.
I recently sat down with the New Players Artistic Director Dr. Schaefer to discuss the production. “It’s a hilarious play that is actually very relevant to our conversation today about immigration. It’s an interesting look at how different people view foreigners.” It deals with views on foreigners and the way we treat people from other countries, which adds a layer of depth to this comedy.
“What’s really cool, but challenging, is how fast we have to turn out a show. It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s a good kind of pressure, you know?” said Haley Tyrrell (junior), who is one of the stage managers of the show. “There is something really rewarding about being a part of the rehearsal process from beginning to end, but not acting in the show. You see the show from a different perspective. It’s still a lot of work, but you really have a new appreciation for those behind the scenes.”
Director Nate Hamm sticks to the originality of the piece, which is actually known as a staple in the American repertoire. Walking into the Little Theater is like being transported to rural Georgia. The wood paneling on the walls, the various animal heads, and the odd smell of mold are all authentic, and add a new element to the show. The costumes are classic 80s style, the time period in which the piece takes place. The furniture was sourced to give the show the right feel. Many painstaking hours were put into these detail oriented tasks.
“Seeing a New Player’s show is almost like seeing something on Broadway. You don’t feel like you are watching high school theater. There is something really special going on,” said Sofia Gambardella (senior), another stage manager of the show. “It’s always worth your money.”
To sum it all up are the simple words of Patricia Joseph. “It’s darn good!” Come see The Foreigner, October 22 at 7 pm and October 23 and 24 at 8 pm.