Local high school drama students are breathing new life into Larry Shues comedy The Foreigner to be performed for locals in the coming weeks.
The story of the awkward intermingling of two English gentlemen with the simple folks of the American South could be particularly relatable for local residents who live at the cultural crossroads of the Southwest.
Charlie (played by Rachel Faught) and Froggy (played by Lecil James) are visiting Southern Georgia in the not-too-distant past. Although both from England, Charlie may as well be from outer space. The editor of a science fiction magazine, the seemingly drab man is terrified of talking to others and pretends not to speak English.
Director, Montezuma-Cortez High School Drama Teacher Nicholaus Sandner said the character of Charlie comes to Georgia wanting to get away and be left alone.
What ends up happening though, is all these people, with all their problems, start talking to him thinking he doesnt understand them, Sandner said. He does. And he helps to solve some of their problems, and grows as a character and grows in confidence as a result.
A unique challenge arose when only two male students auditioned for the show, Sandner said.
We have three girls who are playing guys, he said. So weve had to tweak things a little bit. Its been fun for them to try and research how guys move and all of that to try and play believable guy characters.
Mastering the required accents for their roles proved to be another challenge for the cast, Sandner said.
I have a website that Ive found that has collections of dialects from all over the world, he said. That I had them listen to and practice with. One of our girls, a girl who plays Catherine, has family from the South. She had a little bit of an accent. They just helped each other out and I think its working out nicely.
Sandner saw the show in Durango and wanted to bring it to Cortez.
I just laughed throughout the entire thing, he said. Its just a really, really funny show. When I took on the position here, that was the first comedy that popped into my mind. I knew I wanted to do a comedy, because comedies tend to draw the best audiences. I just feel like its a good way for people to escape their day-to-day stresses.
The show offers a play within a play when Charlie puts his knowledge of science fiction to use in an a dramatization to overcome the antagonists, Sandner said.
Other cast members include Lacey Lukas as Catherine, Joshua Horneff as David, Joshua Martin as Owen, Kaylee Brinkerhoff as Ellard, as well as both Autumn Kaime and Elizabeth Wilson-Rhodes playing the part of Betty.
Sandner said the study and practice of drama helps high school students develop self confidence, expression of emotions and creativity.
Its a good way to learn empathy, he said. Because by putting yourself in someone elses shoes, you learn how to understand other people and how to communicate with other people in a better way.
New to the M-CHS drama program, Sandner said he has jumped into the program with both feet and reached out to the community for support.
Its been nice to have that community involvement and my goal has been to build that up, he said. The community is what helps our program to thrive. Without an audience, we are nothing.
Sandner gave this seasons show a PG rating for colorful language and the presence of an unsavory Southern organization.
The Foreigner runs approximately two hours with an intermission. The show will take place at the Montezuma-Cortez High School Auditorium Thursday through Saturday 7 p.m. March 8, 9, 10, as well as 15, 16, 17 with a 2 p.m. matinee on the 17th. Being St. Patricks day, patrons who wear green on the 17th will be given $1 off their ticket price. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for students and children under five are free. For reservations, call 565-3722 ext. 198.
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