Oakton High School The ForeignerBy Cappies • Nov 10th, 2008 • Category: Cappies
Everyone has days when they feel uninteresting, but most don’t have the chance to do anything about it. In Oakton High School’s enjoyable production of The Foreigner, the protagonist Charlie Baker gets to do just that.
In playwright Larry Shue’s most famous work, Charlie Baker, an awkward American man, is talked by into spending a few days at a lodge by his military friend, “Froggy.” Trying to help out his socially estranged companion, Froggy convinces the owner of the lodge, Betty, that Charlie is from a foreign country and cannot speak a word of English. Mesmerized by the supposed outsider, Betty and all of the guests pester him constantly. While this hilarious show did not do as well in the United States, The Foreigner has had a better following in London than any other American play. After spending nearly the entire hour and a half laughing, it is not very hard to see the reason for the acclaim.
Charlie begins the show as a boring, flat character and grows into an incredibly entertaining personality. Oakton senior Chris North displayed this change convincingly and with a high level of energy. His portrayal of a non-English speaker was impeccable. As other characters taunted him and discussed things that would normally receive a great reaction, he did not stray from his character and responded solely based on the inflection of the words, not their meaning.
The peak of Chris North’s performance was in the Second Act, when Charlie is forced to tell a story from his “native country.” North did not hesitate to put forth all of his energy into a marvelously funny rendition of the classic fable “Little Red Riding Hood,” without using any real words. He personified every character in a way that was outlandish enough to get the audience laughing, but true enough to the story that it made reasonable sense.
Albert Anderson, a Junior at Oakton, was Ellard Simms, a boy with mental disability who is framed for every mistake made in the lodge. Anderson consistently found a perfect middle-ground between the comic aspects of his character and those more sympathetic. Ross McEwen, who played “Froggy,” also did a great job at balancing multiple levels of his part. His showing a hint of jealousy while still acting lighthearted he added some believability to the otherwise ludicrous script.
Oakton’s performance left the audience members with stitches in their sides and smiles on their faces, achieving the goal of any comedic production: entertainment.
by Hannah Rak of George C. Marshall
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