The Forum at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill has become well-known for its serious dramas, thrillers and small musicals.
Today, the theater opens its first flat-out, all-out farce, Larry Shue's award-winning The Foreigner. The 1983 off-Broadway play won two Obie Awards and two Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Off-Broadway Production, and has played countless professional and amateur theaters in the United States and abroad.
In it, British demolition expert "Froggy" LeSeuer (Allen Magnus, Willy in Death of a Salesman) takes his friend Charlie Baker (Juan Triana, Banjo in The Man Who Came to Dinner) to a backwoods hunting lodge south of Atlanta in an effort to cheer him up.
Charlie is a proofreader who is convinced he is boring and not worth knowing. He suspects his wife back in England is two-timing him, but his feelings are mixed because she is also seriously ill and needs his sympathy.
When Froggy has to leave the lodge, Charlie panics at being left alone. To make things better, Froggy tells the good-hearted innkeeper Betty Meeks (Lynda Dilts-Benson, Widow Corney in Oliver) that Charlie is from a strange foreign land and can't speak or understand a word of English. This keeps him from having to make conversation with any other guests.
Soon, to most of the other guests, Charlie becomes invisible. This means that the nefarious preacher, David Marshall Lee (Chris Hubner, Biff in Death; Dawson in A Few Good Men) and his even more heinous cohort, the racist Owen Musser (Phil Gianakas) can plot their no-good deeds right in front of him.
This includes Lee's plan to marry the sweet Catherine Sims (Andrea Caddell, Titania in Midsummer's Night) for her money and plot dastardly deeds with the local Ku Klux Klan.
The only innocent appears to be Catherine's slow-witted little brother Ellard (Devin Devi), who earnestly attempts to teach Charlie some English.
As the plots unwind, no one (except the audience — and an increasingly confident Charlie, of course) is in on the joke.
The play is about two hours long and is suitable for all audiences.