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Theatre / The Foreigner

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The Foreigner is a comedic play by Larry Shue, first performed in Milwaukee in 1984. It follows the adventures of a boring and chronically shy Englishman named Charlie Baker during his three-day stay in a rural fishing lodge in Georgia. He is there with his friend S/Sgt. "Froggy" LaSueur, who is on official business with the American military, depressed over his nowhere job and his marriage to a wife who has been consistently unfaithful and is now terribly ill. Charlie feels he cannot talk to people, so he pretends to be a foreigner who speaks no English, and in doing so inadvertently charms many of the locals, including the widowed owner of the lodge Betty Meeks, bitter ex-debuntante Catherine Simms, and Catherine's dim-witted younger brother Ellard. But things get complicated when Catherine's fiance David accidentally impregnates her, and the racist property inspector Owen threatens to condemn the property and turn it into headquarters for The Klan. Long story short, Hilarity Ensues.

Not to be confused with the Steven Seagal film.

This play contains examples of:

  • Bond One-Liner: Froggy gets an awesome one after blowing up the van : "Bloody foreign cars, can't trust 'em".
  • Canines Gambling in a Card Game: A character complains that she doesn't want to be in her motel room because there is a "Damn picture on the wall of some dogs playin' poker."
  • Genius Ditz: What everyone thinks Ellard is when he starts "teaching" Charlie how to speak English.
  • Innocent Bigot: Betty is completely enthralled by the idea of foreign countries, but doesn't know the slightest thing about them. She believes she can break the language barrier with Charlie by shouting loudly enough.
  • Language Fluency Denial: A man pretends to be a foreigner who doesn't speak English in order to avoid having to deal with small talk at the lodge he's staying at. As a result he overhears many conversations which wouldn't have taken place in front of him otherwise, including a plan to turn the place into a Klan HQ.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Charlie, though it's not so much stupidity as naivety.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Partly invoked in Act Four; it is acknowledged on-stage, but what the plan itself is we don't find out until the bad guys do.