Tonawanda News

The Town

October 20, 2013

Towne Players facing an identity crisis

Tonawanda News — Charlie Baker is a fish out of water.

An Englishman at a fishing lodge in rural Georgia, a beleaguered husband going through a personal crisis, an introvert in a setting totally beyond his experience — what’s a man to do? 

Pretend he doesn’t speak a word of the local language, of course.

From such theatrical logic springs the story of “The Foreigner,” a play by Larry Shue, currently being presented through Oct. 26 by the Towne Players at the Sheridan-Parkside Community Center Theatre in the Town of Tonawanda. Glenn Jumper, who is directing the show, said it’s a show the actors know well and enjoy.

“We originally did it in 1995 and enjoyed it so much,” he said. “Over the years, we kept calling back scenes and moments from the show over the years. So we thought, ‘Let’s do it again’ ... with two of the original cast members.”

Mark DiPasquale of Kenmore reprises the role of Charlie, while Joyce Siegel of Buffalo plays Betty Meeks, the proprietor of that fishing lodge. Five other roles have been recast.

“This show is the equal to, if not better than, the original (from 1995), because we’re all gained more insight over the years,” Jumper said. “Charlie as a character only becomes himself when he pretends to be someone else. It frees him up. He starts to bond with people and people open up to him ... people start to improve around him.”

“Things all work out one way or another but it takes a bit to get there. It’s funny and touching and everybody’s doing a great job in it.”

The play, which is set in 1985, revolves around Charlie, who finds the rest of the show’s cast of characters responding to his supposed “foreign” persona in various ways according to their personalities, from mockery to helpfulness to disclosing secrets and scandals they’d never mention to an insider, Jumper said.

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