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A change of venue

Marshall High School drama students to present ‘The Foreigner’ at SMSU theater

May 3, 2012
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - After a hiatus, the Marshall High School spring play is returning to the stage with a crowd-pleasing comedy.

But it won't be in the high school theater.

Marshall High School's spring play "The Foreigner" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. today-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Southwest Minnesota State University Fine Arts Theatre. The show is being directed by Dan Smith.

Article Photos

Photo by Cindy Votruba
Eric Deutz, left, as Ellard, and Jeff Paskach as Charlie rehearse a scene from Marshall High School’s production of “The Foreigner.”?
The comedic play by Larry Shue will be performed at 7 p.m. today-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Southwest Minnesota State University Fine Arts Theatre.

The last time Marshall High School did a spring play was at the former MHS building several years ago, Smith said. In order to bring it back this year, the school didn't take part in one-act competition.

Smith said the reason the show is being performed at the college is because the theater at MHS is so busy during the spring for two to three straight weeks of rehearsal and set building.

"That's such an active space," he said. "Ray Oster, Sheila (Tabaka) and Nadine (Schmidt) were kind and generous enough to let us in here (SMSU Fine Arts Theatre) for a couple of weeks."

Smith said that a couple of SMSU students are also helping the high school students as well.

"It's a good thing for our departments to collaborate because we can benefit from being neighbors," Smith said.

The students said they don't mind the change of venue for the play.

"Honestly, I like it," Luke Schroeder said. "It's easier for a small cast." There are only seven in the cast - Schroeder, Jeff Paskach, Eric Deutz, Josh Kerkaert, Nick Evans, Billie Miller and Taylor Besse.

Smith said "The Foreigner" has always been on his "short list" of shows to direct when he came across it his sophomore year of high school.

"It's a show I've wanted to direct for 20 years," Smith said.

"The Foreigner" is about two Englishmen, Froggy LeSueur and his friend Charlie Baker who arrive at a fishing lodge in Georgia. Froggy had brought his shy friend to the United States to cheer him up. Froggy comes up with the plan that has Charlie pretending to be from some exotic country and does not understand a word of English so he doesn't have to interact with people much.

Paskach, who plays Charlie, said it's been a challenge to portray such a character.

"It's difficult, that whole idea of acting within acting," Paskach said. "I never had to do that before."

The students said Smith usually selects shows that gets them out of their comfort zone.

"He pushes our boundaries, he always has," Deutz said about Smith's choice for a spring play.

Evans, who is in his first play at MHS, said he likes the complexity of "The Foreigner."

Deutz said there's a lot going on during the show.

"It's not cliche," added Schroeder.

"It's a very witty play with the dialog and humor," Deutz said. "It's not your standard humor, that's what hit me."

Going into the rehearsals, Deutz said he expected a straight show to be a lot less work than a musical as the students didn't have to learn choreography or songs. It's going into more depth instead of doing a "catchy" tune, Schroeder said.

Evans said he has a lot more respect for those who take part in the MHS plays and musicals.

"Because there's a lot of work to it," Evans said.

"It's been strenuous, a lot of long nights, especially in these last few days," Deutz said. "It's come full circle."



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