Houston Matters

The Foreigner: Playing a Character Who Speaks ‘Scripted Gibberish’

As a part of its Summer Chills series, The Alley Theatre has been staging the comedy The Foreigner, by Larry Shue. Here’s the basic concept: Two Englishmen – Charlie and Froggy – visit a resort fishing lodge in rural Georgia. For reasons that are complicated, a lie is told. The lie: that Charlie is from […]

As a part of its Summer Chills series, The Alley Theatre has been staging the comedy The Foreigner, by Larry Shue.

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Actors Jeffrey Bean and Elizabeth Bunch from the Alley Theatre’s production of “The Foreigner.” (Photo: St. John Flynn.)

Here’s the basic concept: Two Englishmen – Charlie and Froggy – visit a resort fishing lodge in rural Georgia. For reasons that are complicated, a lie is told. The lie: that Charlie is from an exotic – and non-existent – foreign country and doesn’t speak a word of English. The woman who runs the lodge is delighted to cater to an exotic visitor, and the elaborate ruse at the heart of the comedy is born. There’s also a sinister sub-plot to take over the lodge and hijinks ensue.

And while the hilarity has made The Foreigner a favorite of both professional and amateur theatre over the years, the play also addresses more serious issues like racism and xenophobia.

Houston Public Media’s St. John Flynn recently spoke with Jeffrey Bean, who plays the faux foreigner Charlie, and Elizabeth Bunch, who plays lodge-owner Catherine, about the uniqueness of a character whose lines are in a made-up language.

The play runs through Aug. 9 at the Alley@UH.

MORE:
St. John Flynn’s Extended Conversation with the Cast of ‘The Foreigner‘ (Houston Public Media, July 18, 2015)
Alley Sets the Stage for ‘The Foreigner’ Production (Houston Chronicle, July 3, 2015)

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