Betty Meeks (Marge Kemp) is delighted to meet a bona fide

Betty Meeks (Marge Kemp) is delighted to meet a bona fide

Going incognito as ‘The Foreigner’

Cranbrook Community Theatre comedy looks at intolerance, acceptance and the power of role-playing

Townsman Staff

Take one individual whose personal problems are causing him such anguish that he cannot face relating to other people. Drop him into a crowded, chatty backwoods milieu. The individual is forced to put on a mask to protect his privacy, in a setting where personal space is a rarity. The secrets of that crowd is thus revealed to the individual — “the Foreigner,” who realizes he must come out of his shell and take action.

But how to do this without revealing that he has been playing a role all along?

“The Foreigner,” Cranbrook Community Theatre’s examination of intolerance, acceptance and role-playing is being brought to the stage courtesy of director David Stock. This is the second time the award-winning comedy has appeared at the Studio Stage Door.

“I am reprising ‘The Foreigner’ after doing it 25 years ago,” Stock said. “When I recently saw a recording of the original production from 1989, I was thinking that so many aspects of it could be improved. I realized that I had improved as a director over the years and saw so many more possibilities in what I could do with it.

“I have always loved the play from the moment my aunt and uncle took me to see it in Edmonton in 1987. It has universal themes, is well written, and is very, very funny. Fun is something we can never get enough of.”

“The Foreigner” tells the story of Canadian Charlie Baker (played by Jeff Cooper), self-proclaimed “world’s dullest man” who is dragged by his Canadian Army buddy Froggy LeSueur to a remote fishing lodge in Georgia, U.S.

Charlie is so distraught about having to relate to the lodge guests that Froggy concocts an outrageous scheme. To save Charlie from his shy self, Froggy introduces him as a “foreigner” who doesn’t speak or understand English. It isn’t long before Charlie’s new persona backfires and complication upon complication ensues in a series of hilarious and heartwarming revelations.

Charlie is changed by his disguise and goes from “Zero” to “Hero” by the end of the play. All the characters affect Charlie and are in turn affected by him. The play ends with the ultimate good guys versus bad guys climax.

“I have updated the play to the present time and yet it still has a great relevance for theatre audiences,” Stock said. “Today more than ever, there is a need for tolerance and acceptance for ‘outsiders’ that come into our community. Every year there are a constant influx of ‘foreigners’ coming to Canada and we all have to adjust our lives and ways of looking at and dealing with them.”

Stock said the play takes serious issues, such as racism and intolerance, and addresses them with comedy in a very funny way.

The author of the play, Larry Shue, is also fascinated with shyness, disguise, and the hazards of language,” Stock said.

In “The Foreigner” his main character, Charlie Baker, is an intensely bashful person whose life is transformed through role playing, make-believe, and communicating in strange tongues.

Stock has assembled a veteran CCT cast — including some actors who’ve worked with Stock in the past.

Jeff Cooper plays the lead, Charlie Baker. Joining him onstage are Jennifer Inglis and Marge Kemp, Jerrod Bondy and Sean Swinwood, Barry Coulter, and Mount Baker students Mitchell Graw and Harrison Ford. Sean Cloarac and Patrick Bondy round out the cast.

“The Foreigner” is playing at the Stage Door at 11 – 11th Avenue South from April 3 to 5, 9 to 12, and 16 to 19. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. and tickets are available at Lotus Books.

Just Posted

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

Calvin Dickson photo.
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for East Kootenay

Conditions favourable for the development of thunderstorms, hail and heavy rain

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into a Castlegar incident. File photo
Police watchdog investigating Castlegar incident

IIO: Woman sustained a reportedly self-inflicted injury

After being forced to cancel in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Wasa Triathlon is being organized for August. Bulletin file photo.
Information released for Gerick Sports Wasa Triathlon scheduled for August

In 2020 the COVID pandemic forced the Gerick Sports Wasa Triathlon to… Continue reading

The latest EKASS survey confirms a steady decline in substance use among EK youth over the years. (image compilation via Pixabay)
Latest survey shows steady decline in adolescent substance use over the years

Starting in 2002, the survey has been conducted every two years to monitor changes in substance use patterns, attitudes and behaviors amongst East Kootenay youth.

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

It’s hard out there for a billionaire

I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that while many, many people… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Most Read