My In-Depth Analysis And Critique Of The Play 'The Foreigner' For Anyone Considering Buying A Ticket

My In-Depth Analysis And Critique Of The Play 'The Foreigner' For Anyone Considering Buying A Ticket

I absolutely loved this show!


"The Foreigner," told the story of an English man named Charlie and his friend Froggy who came to a hostel in Georgia. Froggy challenges Charlie to act as if he is a "foreigner" who doesn't know how to speak English for the entire time he stays in the hostel. The play takes the audience on the journey of Charlie trying to portray a "foreigner" and showcases the obstacles he encounters along the way. Moreover, all of the characters were central to the storyline, but the main character was Charlie.

I liked and was most interested in Owen and Ellard because Owen's character development was unique in that I didn't expect him to be as complex as he was. As far as Ellard is concerned, I liked him and was interested in him because he had to try much harder than the others to fit society's mold of how an individual should behave. On the contrary, I didn't like Froggy because it was very hard to understand who he was as an individual and what his true personality was. To me, he seemed as if he was somewhat artificial in the way he acted when he was around others.

Furthermore, during the course of the play, the actors were effective in portraying their respective characters and they were believable when portraying them. Some of the actors even used certain dialects and accents to help them convey who their character was, to the audience. An example of this would be that Charlie had to utilize an accent in order to pretend like he did not know any English. Additionally, the actor who played Ellard had to pretend to be "slow" and not as intelligent as the other characters. In terms of which characters I relate to, I relate to Catherine the most because of the fact that we are both very feminine and we both are hopeless romantics. I also related to Ellard in that others treat him as though he is not as important or capable because of his cognitive disability, and I too have experienced what it is like to be treated differently.

Further, as it relates to the director of this play, he intended to give the audience a night of fun and entertainment with comic relief. He also wanted to convey the message that people should be themselves. The director was successful in conveying this because the audience was laughing throughout the play and afterward were heard saying that this was "one of the best plays they have ever seen". The audience also understood the message about remaining true to yourself.

The play is set in a hostel in Tilghman County, Georgia around the 1960s. This was shown through the use of a log cabin, older-style furniture, and furnishings such as the swinging doors to the kitchen, which is not at all common in modern households. The scenery showed that the play took place in Georgia specifically through the Southern food and sweet tea that the characters often ate and drank, the pictures of fish that were hung around the hostel, and the old, rusty screen door which one would typically only encounter in the South.

The scenery also conveyed information about the characters. For instance, by Betty almost always being in the kitchen, it indicated that she is a caregiver who conforms to gender roles. Furthermore, the scenery showcased the particular situation in which the play was set, by showing the audience that the characters were in a cabin in the countryside. Moreover, the layout of the cabin clearly illustrates that the setting was a hostel and not someone's home. As was previously mentioned, the play's specific setting was in Georgia. The backdrop of grass and an empty field helped to clearly convey this. Overall, the scenery was appropriate in that it helped the audience to understand the setting and connect to the story.

In regards to the lighting design, the lamp that was in the middle of the table illustrates that this play was set in the past, as most people do not have this nowadays. In addition, the flipping of the power switch on the lamp indicated whether it was daytime or nighttime. This was also signified by the lights above the stage either casting a "warm" glow or a dim glow. Also, Ellipsoidal reflector spotlights, which according to the textbook: Theatre Experience 11th edition written by Edwin Wilson, Ellipsoidal reflector spotlights are "…the most widely used the conventional fixture." (Wilson, 320) were used to highlight the important characters in each scene.

Other characters were still visible, but less emphasized. In particular, lighting was used to show the frightening situation of the Ku Klux Klan arriving by using dark, red lights. Further, the lighting showed the mood throughout the play as well. For most of the play, the lighting was warm and welcoming. However, for the scene with the Ku Klux Klan, dark red and blue lights were used to depict a darker mood. As it concerns the actors, they were properly lit, with the important characters being spotlighted, but the others were still visible.

When it comes to costume design, it showed that the time period in which the play was taking place was around the 1960s. This is clearly exemplified by the fact that Betty wore an old, worn apron. The costume design also showed place, since Ellard was dressed in overalls and Catherine was in a Southern belle-type dress, both of which indicate the setting is in the South. Additionally, the style of the costumes showed that the play was set in a time period of around the 1960s. Further, the style of the costumes was very Southern and casual, which contrasted with Charlie, who was very well dressed. The costumes that each character wore, certainly showcased their personalities.

This is evidenced by Catherine's pink clothing which showed that she was very feminine. Betty, on the other hand, was in worn clothing, which illustrated that she was a hard-working Southern woman. Ellard was wearing overalls with one strap undone, which indicated that was cognitively "slow". Froggy's camouflage clothing showed that he was in the service. Moreover, Owen had tattoos and a muscle shirt, which showed that he was tough. Catherine's husband, the minister, was a figure of authority which was indicated through the fact that he always had his hair slicked back. Generally speaking, the costumes showed conflict by showing which characters were in the same "group" (those who wore the Southern and casual clothing) and who was the outsider (Charlie).

In terms of the sound design element of this production, old-fashioned music that was played before the show began, "told" the audience that the play was based in the past. Specifically, the old-time country that was played before, during intermission, as well as after the performance, conveyed that the play was set in the South. To add to that, this type of music illustrated that most of the characters were Southerners. As far as sound effects are concerned, the slamming of the screen door, the car engine revving, and the tires squealing made the Ku Klux Klan scene more frightening.

The Foreigner which was written by Larry Shue was written on January 1, 1984. The play was written to encourage audience members to be to who they are. Overall, the audience was very receptive to the production and it seemed as if they were thoroughly enjoying themselves. This completely aligned with my reaction in that all of my fellow audience members and I were laughing for the majority of the production. In addition, the audience was somewhat diverse in that it was comprised of several families as well as several elderly couples. The event was being presented to students who are a part of the Rollins College theatre department, however, it wasn't being presented for any particular type of group.

I feel that this production exceeded my standard of good theatre. Furthermore, the production that I attended I believe faithfully represented the play's original meaning of being true to who you are as an individual. To conclude, the actors as well as everyone who took part in this production, effectively conveyed that message that one should be to who they are, to the audience.

Popular Right Now

The Not So Beautiful Truth About 'Beautiful'

The damage of sanitizing Carole King's story.

No one can deny the influence Carole King’s music has had on the industry — unless you don’t know who Carole King is, and then that’s another issue entirely. I really don’t think anyone can even argue the enjoyability of the biographical musical, “Beautiful” (really great show if you haven’t seen it, which most haven’t, because it’s impossible to get tickets for).

The show follows the trajectory of the Carole King’s start in music — her partnership (both romantic and professional) with Gerry Goffin and the songs they wrote for a collection of artists of the time. The voices and popularity of The Drifters and The Shirelles, as we’re shown, really helped to launch King’s and Goffin’s careers. Though the plot is rooted in the highs and lows of King's and Goffin’s relationship with the accompanying music to anchor these points, it ends with a high point.

Spoiler alert: King becomes a huge success and the music industry is forever changed.

But there’s something missing from this journey from King’s precocious ambition to sheepish personality to...less sheepish personality. What we don’t see, though, is that King’s pique of success, both in music and her sudden resolve to leave her philandering husband, is not where the story ends.

In fact, after her divorces from Goffin and Charles Larkey, King married Rick Evers. In “A Natural Woman: A Memoir,” King disclosed that Evers abused her on a regular basis. And in an interview with Piers Morgan, she confessed she’d never thought of herself as a woman who’d allow a man to abuse her — and married Evers after knowing about his destructive ways.

By ending “Beautiful” when King is at such a high in her personal life, after having spent more than a decade as a shell of the woman she once aimed to be, book writer Douglas McGrath is rewriting history.

Yes, he’s giving King the credit for coming into her own. But upon looking into her history, it appears King reverted to her old ways in later years. After the emotionally-trying marriage between her and Goffin — at least in the show’s depiction — we’re led to believe King only continued to rise in personal strength and professional influence. Researching her, though, we see that isn’t the case.

Of course, the cycle of abuse is one so many fall victim to. This article is in no way meant to judge that, merely to express that by cutting this out of King’s history, McGrath is denying that King still had room to grow after Goffin. She didn’t find herself by the time she performed at Carnegie Hall in 1971.

The show would have been infinitely stronger had the relationship with Goffin — crucial though it was in King’s life and career — been a snippet of the story. Had we been taken through her relationship history with all four husbands, not just Goffin, we would have been provided a much greater scope of who King really is and not just the lighter parts of her story. By denying this darker part of her past, we’re denying the struggles she overcame and the strength it took to overcome them, just as so many others have had to overcome the same.

Cover Image Credit: The Star

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

There's A Whole World Of Theatre You Haven't Even Discovered

And it's all FREE!


There is a whole channel of theatre on YouTube many have not even heard of. Lately, the art of parody theatre has become more popular, especially with the Off-Broadway production of Puffs!, a musical about Hufflepuffs from Harry Potter, since they do not get as much love as the other houses often.

Believe it or not, this is not the first Harry Potter parody to become popular. Team Starkid, a YouTube channel that has been around for years, started A Very Potter Musical 9 years ago, and since, there have been two more Harry Potter parodies, a version of Aladdin from Jafar's perspective, a Batman parody, a musical about cavemen, and a whole lot of other really cool concepts. Each musical is approximately 2 hours long, and with almost a decade of content, there is plenty to watch! As well, it is all original content, so you'll have a whole new set of show tunes to get obsessed with.

Here's the link to their channel:

As well, if you have not heard of Todrick Hall, you're in for a delight.

I've been obsessed with Todrick for a while now, mostly for his covers and parodies, from a 90s medley to a Beauty and the Beast with only Britney Spears songs. He has so much content that you'll be busy for a while, especially if you go into his full-length visual albums, Straight Outta Oz and Forbidden. The first is more of Hall's personal story with Wizard of Oz themed songs and a super pretty album with awesome costumes and even some special guests!

Forbidden is much more of a social commentary piece, and it flips social stereotypes between races and gender. For instance, a White boy is shot in a Black neighborhood for looking suspicious and gay couples are the norm for the town. I am not as big of a fan of this album, but it does have much less of a musical theatre vibe than Straight Outta Oz.

If nothing else, you can see Todrick's vlogs about being over in London in the West End production of Chicago. He is best friends with Taylor Swift, and it is adorable.

Additionally, there are so many full-length musical movies and full length bootlegged shows. I have watched many a thing at 2am when I am bored, and YouTube is fantastic for people getting creative with the titles of their videos.

Related Content

Facebook Comments