Homecoming with small cast of ‘The Foreigner’ | NevadaAppeal.com

Homecoming with small cast of ‘The Foreigner’

by Sam Bauman

Players rehearse a controversial Ku Klux Klan scene in "The Foreigner" Monday at the Brewery Arts Center. Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal

It must have been like college homecoming for some of the members of the Proscenium Players’ production staff as they rehearsed “The Foreigner.” Six of them were in a production of the same play in 1989 by the Players.

Alumni include Helaine Jesse, Tim Morsani, Lisa Hersey, Jody Paslov – all cast members this time – and Carolyn DeMar and Maizie Harris Jesse, producer and director this time out.

“The old cast members called me up and insisted that we do it again, and since it’s such a cute show we decided to do so,” said Jesse, one of the cofounders of the Proscenium Players in 1965. It is now the second oldest continuously running community theater group in Nevada.

The play, by Larry Shue, never made it to Broadway, said Jesse. “Critics didn’t think it was deep enough.” But it played off-Broadway for several seasons.

The plot isn’t terribly important, but it concerns a man named Charlie (Rod Hearn) who is brought to a rural fishing lodge in Georgia by “Froggy” LeSueur (Jaime Dunbar), a British demolition expert who does occasional blasts at a nearby U.S. Army base.

Since his friend Charlie is pathologically shy, “Froggy” tells the group that Charlie is a foreigner who speaks no English.

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Charlie is a good listener, however, and he overhears a plot by Ku Klux Klan members to do evil, among other things.

With that in place, things go amusingly awry for the bad guys as Charlie rattles off nonsensical gibberish, goes through pantomime lessons in how to handle a glass, and generally upsets everything. It may not be deep, as the New York critics sniffed, but it is funny.

Others in the small cast include Phil Harriman. In this case, the backstage crew far outnumbers the cast and does a fine job.

You’ve got three weekends to catch this fun fest. And it’s a lot more fun than most comedies on the silver screen these days.

n Contact reporter Sam Bauman at sbauman@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1236.