Rehearsing a scene from “The Foreigner” are, from left, Keith Wendland (as the foreigner, Charlie Baker), Diane Clayton (as Betty Meeks) and Kim Eichacker (as Catherine Simms). In the next photo, from left, are Chuck Mahowald (as Staff Sgt. Froggy LeSueur) and Jim Sznajder (as Reverend David Marshall Lee). PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED
“It’s probably the funniest American farce I’ve ever seen,” said Trey Karlen, director of the upcoming Huron Area Community Theater production of “The Foreigner.”
The play will be presented at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. Sunday; and at the same times on Nov. 15, 16 and 17.
The play centers on an Englishman, Staff Sgt. Froggie LeSueur (played by Chuck Mahowald), who just wants a little rest and relaxation at an old fishing lodge in the deep south in Georgia.
He’s reluctantly accompanied by a friend, Charlie Baker (played by Keith Wendland of Arlington) who is feeling down and depressed because of a merrily adulterous wife whom he loves.
To ensure that other guests at the lodge give Charlie the space he needs, Froggie tells everyone that his friend can’t speak English so they will leave him alone.
This is wonderful news to the motherly widow, Betty Meeks (played by Diane Clayton), who owns the resort lodge and looks foward to catering to a foreigner.
“Everybody there believes he can’t speak English,” Karlen said. “He really can, so he ends up overhearing a lot of things.”
Through little effort on his part, Charlie endears himself to almost everyone by being a good listener (much better than they know) as they relate their problems to him.
Others at the lodge include the Rev. David Marshall Lee (played by Jim Sznajder), and his fiance, the pretty heiress Catherine Simms (played by Kim Eichacker of De Smet); and her dim-witted brother, Ellard Simms (played by Derek Barnes of Huron), who is heir to half the family fortune — if Catherine decides he is smart enough to handle it.
As the other guests mill around, speaking freely in front of Charlie, he learns of a plot by a redneck county property inspector Owen Musser (played by John Todd of Huron) to take over the lodge, and it also becomes apparent that the esteemed Reverend is trying to make Ellard appear to be an idiot in front of his sister so he can’t inherit his half of the family money.
Things began to take a turn when Ellard decides to teach the foreigner English — and everyone is amazed when just an hour later Charlie is able to speak and read English like a pro.
“The foreigner has heard all these plots, so they form a plan to defeat the bad guys — he and the half-wit and the old lady,” Karlen said. “It’s the ultimate good-versus-evil and the good guy wins in the end.”
Karlen said the cast will have rehearsed 65 hours over the past two and a half months to prepare for this production.
Karlen, who has a master’s degree in communication studies in theater, has been directing community theater in De Smet for the past 13 years, and at Prairie Repertoire Theater for 10 years.
He’s directed 15 plays or musicals and has performed in about 90 productions.
Advance tickets are available at Coborn’s Foods, Slumberland Furniture, Wards Store in De Smet or Huron ACT.com
For the complete article see the 11-03-2013 issue.
Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 11-03-2013 paper.