Laughter Isn’t Foreign to “The Foreigner”

By Constance Gabel,

While many students take the summer off to enjoy the outdoors or family vacations, LEAP Center students stay engaged during the summer months through activities like the Outdoor Explorer program with the City of Huntsville’s Recreation Department or attending cultural outings such as this weekend’s “The Foreigner” expedition at the UH Theater. Led by Mike Yawn, LEAP students met for an appetizing lunch of South American food at Houston’s own Andes Café.


Upon arrival, students were excited to meet former Junior Fellows Vice President, Laken Jenkins, graduate of South Texas College of Law. It was a great opportunity to discuss law school and for some, power lifting, with the Sam Houston grad. While considering interesting topics like summer plans and goals for the new school year, students perused the menu consisting of Peruvian, Ecuadorian, Columbian, Chilean, and Argentinian options. Students enjoyed entrees such as Bisteck A Caballo, a steak and egg dish, Pollo a la Brasa, a Peruvian chicken dish, and Lomo Saltado, Peruvian stirfry. It was neat to have a taste of many different countries in such a quaint café residing in Houston’s downtown.


Finishing our eclectic lunch, we left the café to caravan to the University of Houston, where the Alley Theatre is currently residing to accommodate $46.5 million worth of renovations at their usual home. We were excited to meet the mayor of Huntsville, Mac Woodward, and his wife, Leanne Woodward at the theater, where they joined us to watch the play.

The play was written by Larry Shue, who interestingly enough died in a plane crash while adapting the play for the screen. “The Foreigner” was about a socially anxious Brit visiting a hunting lodge in Georgia with his comrade.  In the company of strangers–each with their own backstory–this timid, doormat of a man comes into his own, transforming into an avid story-telling, English-learning, secret-keeping confidant of the lodge’s residents.  It was hilarious!


The play ended to a standing ovation, and we left the theater to converse about our favorite parts and laugh about the amusing accents. We took a picture to commemorate such a fun afternoon with the Woodwards and Ms. Jenkins and bid adieu to the University of Houston and each other while going our separate ways until next week, as some LEAP students look forward to a trip to Savannah, Georgia.

Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Huron Daily Tribune, Laredo Morning Times, Beaumont Enterprise, Connecticut Post, and Midland Reporter Telegram. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

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