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Not So Foreign To Be Funny

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A scene for "The Foreigner."

The College Community Theater presents "The Foreigner" by Larry Shue, directed by Dave Wright. The production centers around two English friends that turn a fishing lodge upside down. The show will run from April 4-19. The shows on Fridays and Saturdays are at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., at the Waddell theater on the Northern Virginia Loudoun campus, 1000 Harry Flood Byrd Highway, Sterling. Tickets are $12 per adult and $10 per student and senior. Visit www.nvcc.edu/cct or call 703-948-7701. Director Dave Wright responds to the questions.

Explain the premise of the story:

The scene is a fishing lodge in rural Georgia often visited by "Froggy" LeSeuer, a British demolition expert who occasionally runs training sessions at a nearby army base. This time "Froggy" has brought along a friend, a pathologically shy young man named Charlie who is overcome with fear at the thought of making conversation with strangers. So "Froggy," before departing, tells everyone at the lodge that Charlie is from an exotic foreign country and speaks no English. Once alone the fun really begins, as Charlie overhears more than he should — the evil plans of a sinister, two-faced minister and his redneck associate; the fact that the minister's pretty fiancée is pregnant; and many other damaging revelations made with the thought that Charlie doesn't understand a word being said. That he does fuels the nonstop hilarity of the play and sets up the wildly funny climax in which things go uproariously awry for the "bad guys," and the "good guys" emerge triumphant.

Why did you choose to direct this play?

This is actually the fourth time I have been involved in a production of "The Foreigner." I have been a fan of Larry Shue's for a long time and "The Foreigner" is one of the funniest plays ever written. Every time I read it, it makes me laugh. And considering how many times that's been, that's saying something.

What were some of the challenges when putting together the play?

Probably the biggest challenge is the timing. This play is all about timing so it's always a challenge to get that just right.

What stands out the most about this production?

How cohesive the process has been. It has been so smooth all the way from the technical aspects to the performance. Everyone gets along so well that it makes for an extremely healthy and creative work environment.

What is your favorite character/most challenging role?

To be honest, I love all the characters equally because they all bring something different to the table. This is truly an ensemble. In terms of challenging roles, they all have their share of challenges. However, I would say the character of Charlie is particularly difficult because he has to convey a lot of his feelings through physicality and expressions rather than words. To do that without transitioning into caricature is a fine line and Phil (the actor playing Charlie) does it perfectly.

What has been your favorite play-related moment (either on stage or backstage)?

There are too many to narrow down to just one.

Is there music involved in the play and if so, how does it affect the play? If no music, how does the lack of it change the mood of the play?

Music is integral to the play, especially during the kitchen table scene. I can't say anything more without giving away too much.

Have you ever acted?

I have been an actor in the Washington, D.C., area for over 20 years. My roles have ranged from Shakespeare to children's theater. Most recently I played McMurphy in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" here at CCT and Paul Sheldon in "Misery" with the Leesburg Theatre Company. In addition, I am the regional director of the Murder Mystery Players in Bethesda, Md.

What do you hope the audience will get out of it?

If I have anything to say about it, every audience member will walk away with their sides hurting because of laughing so hard.

Have you worked with any of these actors before?

I have worked with several of these actors before and some I met for the first time at auditions. I can honestly say that in all my years of doing theater, I have never been a part of a more talented, giving, selfless and just plain fun group of people than this one. Every one of them exemplifies what is meant by the term "team player." We are all having so much fun during this process that it can't help but show to the audience. I could not be happier and prouder of what they have accomplished.

What is the funniest line/situation in the play?

Too many to name. You'll just have to see it to find out for yourself.