Driftwood Players

"The Foreigner" Oct. - Nov. 1987

By Larry Shue, Directed by Jane Mezera


Ron Richardson: (S/Sgt. Froggy Le Suer) Bill Bilsland: (Owen Musser) Ed Logue: (Charlie Baker) Bud Eddy: (Rev. David Marshall Lee) Bobbee Downs: (Catherine Simms) Bunny Ronald: (Betty Meeks) Mike Dugan: (Ellard Simms)

Ed Logue, Mike Dugan

Mike Dugan, Bobbee Downs, Bud Eddy, Bill Bilsland

Ron Richardson, Bunny Ronald

Mike Dugan

Pictures by
Alan Stamwitz

From The Daily World Sunday, November 1, 1987

'The Foreigner' tickles big opening-night crowd

By Micki Colwell
Daily World correspondent

    I have always felt that live theater is the best. There is something exciting when every performance can be different and the audiences play an important part.

    At the opening night of Driftwood Players "The Foreigner," by Larry Shue, the near-sellout crowd transcended the traditional first-night blahs in a big way, demonstrating their enjoyment with gales of laughter promptly after curtain-time. A steady series of zany antics on the verge of slapstick keep them chuckling.

    The show will run the next three weekends through Nov. 21.

    The action takes place in the recent past at a fishing lodge in Georgia. A British Army officer, Froggy, who is a demolition expert, comes to the lodge on some assignment or other. He brings with him a friend called Charlie. Froggy is frequently called away, leaving Charlie to his own devices.

Charlie, a shy man, is overcome by panic at the thought of conversation with strangers. To protect him, Froggy tells everyone that Charlie is a foreigner who is unable to understand or speak English. That is the premise (and the basic joke) of the play.

    With villainy and skullduggery afoot, the cast of characters take no notice of Charley.

    Surprise is the essence of farce, so I will tell you that in the end the villains are thwarted, the Klu Klux Klan is turned back and everybody lives happily ever after.

    Jane Mezera uses her years of experience both on and off the stage to direct the seasoned cast.

    Although a newcomer to Driftwood stage, Ed Logue handles the role of Charlie with captivating charm. He demonstrates a knack for fading into the scene one moment and then uses his expressive face to show the audience just what he is thinking next.

    Froggy is played by Ron Richardson, who has performed in a variety of roles at Driftwood. He is an energetic counterpart to Charlie's antics. His scenes with the "foreign" language are extremely funny.

    Bunny Ronald, who can be remembered for her performances in "The Four Poster" and "Everyone Loves Opal" in witch she received the Best Actress Award, has another winning performance to her credit. She plays Betty, the kindly, sweet old owner of the inn who is disillusioned and often complains. When she meets Charlie, she becomes transformed into a spry and energetic lady who loves to entertain the foreigner.

    Bud Eddy, as the Rev. David Marshall Lee, is convincing in his portrayal of the loving suitor one moment and the dastardly villain the next.

    The other villain in the play is Ellard Simms, who is played by Bill Bilsland, a retired teacher from Weatherwax. He is very believable as a person you love to hate.

    Bobbee Downs, who last season won best actress for her role in "White Chicks," plays Catherine Simms, a frustrated ex-debutante with a slow-witted brother and a not-so-attentive boyfriend.

    She uses her comic talent to the hilt in delivering some extremely funny lines. The scenes with her brother are especially funny because he constantly seems to get the last word.

    The townspeople are played by George Franich, Fred Snow and Doug Sipe. Although you cannot see their faces, they offer a commanding presence on the stage at the end.

    Mike Dugan plays the slow-witted Ellard Simms. Audiences who have seen his many performances know that he is an extremely good comedian with a knack for detail and timing. He hardly has to say a word and you want to laugh, but he has some of the greatest lines in the play.

    The playwright Shue sees humor in the failing and foibles of the human animal, and is able to present our shortcomings in a way that makes us enjoy being drawn closer to the mirror. The script is one of the funniest I've encountered in years.

    Although the timing of the spoken lines seemed off at first, it soon improved and the audience was caught up until the final curtain. I suggest you get your tickets early and hope that you will get the same joy in viewing this production as I did.

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