SHU theatre gets familiar with “The Foreigner”

An elaborate set looms over the aisles of seats with a warm brown color scheme in the theater at SOPAC. Cream-colored walls with wooden accents, a dark brown bar lined with auburn bottles of liquor, deer and bird taxidermy adorns the walls and a sweeping stone fireplace soars; an ordinary stage has been transformed into a lodge.

The scene is from “The Foreigner,” a new play directed by professor Deirdre Yates and presented by the Seton Hall Department of Communication and Arts Council, running April 16 and 17 at 8 p.m. with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee at SOPAC.

Following a short break after performing in three shows during the fall 2009 semester, sophomore Megan Hanson knew she wanted to be in the production.

“I was missing theater,” she said, “I really like working with Professor Yates.”

The broadcast major, who has done a total of six productions at Seton Hall said, “I knew the show was hilarious.”

The farce, written by Larry Shue in the 1980s, takes place in rural Georgia. Charlie Baker, the central character played by Seton Hall student Rob Huryk, is a man who finds himself at a loss for words, faking the persona of a foreigner who lacks the ability to speak English.

The six other characters in the show (under the impression that Charlie cannot understand them) divulge all kinds of information, often too much. Hanson plays Catherine Simms and describes the character as a very eccentric, ex-debutante.

The dialogue is fast-paced, witty and the actors are full of energy.

The production team and cast included are between 25 and 30 Seton Hall students who have been working on the play for the past five weeks.

“There are no understudies,” graduate student Henry LaGue said. “We’re flying without a net.”

LaGue, who has done over 20 shows at Seton Hall alone, plays Rev. David Lee, an integral part in “The Foreigner.”

When asked about the experience preparing for the show, he said,

“We got the lines down fairly early and had a lot of chances to really play with it.”

The show is playful, edgy, hilarious, often charming and, according to LaGue, filled with “zany and fun situations.”

LaGue said that Yates is one of his favorite directors to work with.
“She’s open to creativity,” he said, “I enjoy being directed by her.”

LaGue, having performed the show in high school as a different character, describes “The Foreigner” as a modern comedy that has the depth of a social commentary while preserving its most important function: to entertain.

“Individually, each of the characters is fun to watch,” said LaGue.

Tickets for “The Foreigner” are $5 with a valid Seton Hall ID, $15 for general admission, $8 for alumni and can be purchased at the door, the University Center Box Office or by calling (973) 761-9474.

Taylor Korsak can be reached at taylor.korsak@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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