“People vote for idiots who look like leaders. But Ned Newley is a new phenomenon, a leader… who looks like an idiot.”
Those are the words written at the top of the poster for The Outsider, an upcoming production by the Chilliwack Players Guild.
The local theatre group presents the political satire by playwright Paul Slade Smith from Nov. 17 to Nov. 27 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.
“Our play selection committee read the script and it took us probably an hour longer than it was supposed to. We had to keep stopping because we were laughing so hard,” said director Graham Archer. “It was just that funny.”
The play takes place in the present time in an unnamed state in the U.S. where a man named Ned Newley becomes governor because the previous one was involved in a sex scandal.
“The guy who is becoming governor is completely unsuited to politics. He’s shy, doesn’t like to talk to people, doesn’t like people around… but he’s brilliant,” Archer said.
Newley has a terrible swearing-in ceremony that is broadcast on a local TV channel and it goes viral.
“Hilarity ensues from there,” he said. “It’s one of those things that whether you’re political or apolitical, you’ll find humour in it.
“It’s something you’d hope doesn’t really happen in real life but you can almost see it happening.”
Ned Newley is played by Brad Whittaker. He’s one of seven cast members in the play. The others are:
Paige Caldwell played by Jacqui Higginbottom
Dave Riley played by Andy Rolleman
Louise Peakes played by Barbara Blom
Arthur Vance played by Raymond Hatton
Rachel Parsons played by Kelly Shackleford
A.C. Petersen played by Alex Rohani
In the midst of a political scandal, Ned Newley, the ultimate policy wonk, is unexpectedly thrust into the position of governor. Newley doesn’t even want to be governor. He has no political instincts, a paralyzing fear of public speaking, and his poll numbers are impressively bad. Newley might be the worst candidate to ever run for office. Unless the public is looking for… the worst candidate ever to run for office. Politics is a visual medium. People vote for idiots who look like leaders. But Ned Newley is a new phenomenon: a leader… who looks like an idiot. In politics, the less you know, the higher you’ll go! At once a razor-sharp comedy and a sincere tribute to democracy, The Outsider is a timely and hilarious take on modern politics.
The Chilliwack Players Guild’s production of The Outsider runs Nov. 17 to Nov. 27 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. Show times are: Nov. 17, 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m., and matinees are on Nov. 20 and 27 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for students and seniors, and can be purchased at the Centre Box Office, online at chilliwackculturalcentre.ca, or by calling 604-391-SHOW(7469).
The Chilliwack Players Guild is a theatre group made up of volunteer actors and other members. All money goes towards putting on their productions.