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The average ticket price was more than if I had gone to Broadway and seen The Lion King
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Over the past few years I’ve had an unbalanced relationship with the People’s Light and Theater Company. Some seasons I’ve seen every play they produced and enjoyed them all, and at other times I’ve ignored them for large chunks of time. This season I subscribed to a series of tickets that could be used for any plays on any dates, except Friday and Saturday nights. I went to the first play of the season, which I can’t even recall at this point, and did something I’ve never done before – walked out during intermission and didn’t come back. The play was dreadfully dull, the production was uninspired, and the actors were using tin cans and string to phone it in.

The tickets sat in the key rack near the door to the garage and I’d idly think about having to attend another play… soon. Well, soon showed up, waved at me frantically, and finally packed its bags and left, taking the theater season with it. All except the last few performances of the final play, The Foreigner, by Larry Shue. Because I stood to lose all the money I’d paid for the tickets anyway (they’re not renewable for the new season), I reserved a seat for Sunday’s matinee two weeks ago. It’s summer, everyone is “down the shore” (one of many execrable Philadelphia-isms), and I expected the theater to be empty. Imagine my surprise when I heard it was sold out. For some reason I was given a seat in the front row. And then I realized everyone else in the row had a walker, one or more canes, and/or a service dog.

The play was fantastic – Larry Shue used the oddities of language, the various reactions Americans have to anyone different, and the not-so-subtle themes of racism and chauvinism to construct a howlingly funny play. It’s a shame he didn’t live long enough to give us very many other works of this caliber.

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