Take a boring, very shy, insecure Englishman and drop him in a remote Georgia fishing lodge for a few days. Throw in some local southern characters, a bit of sinister intrigue and danger and the result is "The Foreigner," a popular comedy that will be staged Oct. 22-25 [WEDNESDAY - SATURDAY] during Homecoming Week at East Central University.
The play will begin at an earlier time than previous productions, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday in the Dorothy Summers Theatre. A 2 p.m. matinee on Oct. 25 [SATURDAY] will allow Homecoming participants to see the show between the Homecoming parade at noon and the tailgate party and coronation ceremony before the 6 p.m. football game.
Tickets for general seating are $5 for adults and $3 for non-ECU students and senior adults. Admission is free for ECU students, faculty and staff with valid ECU ID cards. More information is available at 580-559-5483.
The Larry Shue comedy will be directed by Dr. Richard Groetzinger, assistant professor of communication who joined the ECU faculty in August.
"I thought it kind of represented my coming to ECU," he said with a smile. "A foreigner surrounded by the old guard, coming into a new situation. I have had to learn a whole new system and language."
Plus, he said, Shue is a very funny playwright who once was one of the writers for the "M.A.S.H." television series.
"It's a real crowd pleaser," Groetzinger said of the play. "It does have its poignant moments, especially the part where we hear of Catherine's problems. It's a good against evil story."
The depressed Englishman, Charlie Baker, has a philandering wife back home, so his friend, British S/Sgt. "Froggy" LeSueur, brings him to Georgia to stay at the fishing lodge while he conducts a three-day training exercise for the U.S. Army.
Any kind of conversation terrifies Charlie, so Froggy claims his friend is from an exotic country and does not understand a word of English. Each of the other characters reacts to the foreigner differently, from enthusiasm to friendship to bigotry. They talk as if Charlie is not there.
"Charlie starts hearing things he shouldn't hear," Groetzinger said.
Like secrets, scandals and diabolical plots to defraud.
"Charlie starts to relish his role," Groetzinger said. "He starts liking these people. One of them starts teaching him English. He gets involved in their problems and he saves the day in the end."
Jonathan Moore, a freshman from Paoli, will play Charlie. Convinced by his wife that he is boring and dull, Charlie tries to help his new friends and discovers he indeed has a personality beyond his wildest expectations.
The cast includes Lauren "Durby" Durbin, Atoka sophomore, as Betty, the good-hearted owner of the lodge who thinks speaking louder will help Charlie understand English; Cynthia Mellon, Allen freshman, as Catherine, a spoiled heiress; and James Hartsfield, Yukon graduate student, as David, a preacher with a hidden, sinister side who wants Catherine's money.
Joe Jacobi, Marlow sophomore, will play Catherine's brother Ellard who is considered a simpleton until he "teaches" Charlie how to speak English. Kimberly Wren, Ada junior, will play Rowena, a racist property inspector who plans to condemn the lodge and convert it into a meeting place for the Ku Klux Klan.
Froggy will be portrayed by Chris Hicks of Ada. Klansmen will be Lauren Hathcoat, Ada sophomore; Ashley Greene, Shawnee freshman; Anthony Bowie, Spencer junior; and Chris Hicks.
# # #