Preparing for 'The Foreigner'

Posted: Thursday, November 09, 2000

Have you ever met a foreigner, or been one, or felt like one?

The Kenai Performers have a show set out to humor the audience while raising these and other questions.

"The Foreigner," a play by Larry Shue, is a full-length play that will be presented at the Old Town Village Restaurant in Kenai as both a dinner theater and a matinee.

Director Carol Ford said she has wanted to direct the play for a while and finally decided to do it this year. She directed another of Shue's play "The Nerd," and said she is glad to present "The Foreigner" to the community.


Characters the Rev. David Lee and Catherine Sims, played by Bill Worsfold and Maggie Tappana, embrace in a scene from "The Foreigner."

Ford said, before his death in the mid-1980s, that Shue was often said to be the next Neil Simon.

"I think it's gonna be a fun show," she said.

The idea of dinner theater is not a new one for the Kenai Performers, Ford said. The dinner and show combination had been offered in the past, but not for a while.

"It (the play) really lends itself to a dinner theater," she said.

Ford describes the play as "a hilarious comedy that raises the question of how we deal with self-doubt and how it could be if we could start all over as an outsider and find our way into the very center of our best, most joyful selves."

The setting of the play is at a fishing lodge in rural Georgia in modern times. The cast is composed of seven performers and one set.


Siblings Catherine and Ellard Sims, played by Maggie Tappana and Anthony Cole, respectively, watch as Charlie, played by Jonathan Saylor uncovers a trap door in the bed and breakfast's lobby.

"Everybody has a really good part with only seven people," Ford said.

The main character, played by Jonathan Saylor, is Charlie. His friend, Froggy, a British demolition expert, brings him to the lodge. Charlie is shy and fears conversation.

Saylor has both acting and directing experience and has performed in "The Foreigner," professionally, he said.

"It is such a great play," Saylor said.

But the role of Charlie is new for him, since he was previously cast in the role of Owen, a seemingly good ol' boy with evil plans up his sleeve.

"It is fun to play the good guy," he said.

While Saylor gets the good guy role, Michael Mishou is

cast in the role as Owen.

"The Foreigner" is Mishou's first performance with the Kenai Performers. He said he acted in college years before, and the hardest part about getting back into the acting routine was learning the lines.

Mishou describes his character as a racist and a bigot. Because the role is so out of character for Mishou, he said at times it is almost easy to act the part of Owen.

"I enjoy it a lot," he said, "It's kinda fun to let out the inner evil child."

Other cast members include Bill Gronvold as Froggy; Susan Shaffer as lodge owner Betty Meek; Bill Worsfold as the Rev. David Lee, a minister staying at the lodge; Maggie Tappana in the role of Catherine Sims, an heiress engaged to the reverend; and Anthony Cole plays her younger brother, Ellard Sims.

Though the play has a dark side, Ford said it is equally funny and uplifting, with a satisfying theme.

She said plays are a way to share the idea of being human in an artistic venue.

"Live theater is really a labor of love to the community," she said.

Everyone involved, including the cast and more than 20 others, have volunteered their time the past six weeks for this play, she said, as they have in other Kenai Performers plays.

"I am looking forward to the chance to share it with the community," Ford said.

"The Foreigner" will be performed at Old Town along with dinner on Friday, Saturday, Nov. 17 and 18. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 8. Tickets for dinner theater are $25. Matinees will be held Sunday and Nov. 19 at 3 p.m.; tickets cost $10.

For more information, or tickets, call 283-4515.

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