Carroll Players staging comedy 'The Foreigner'

March 11, 1994|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,Contributing Writer

Imagine having to pretend you don't speak English, while around you people are plotting and believing you are none the wiser.

This is the premise of the Carroll Players dinner theater production of "The Foreigner," a play by Larry Shue, at Frock's Sunnybrook Farm. The troupe has chosen a play that mixes humor with an important social message.

In the show, two British soldiers, "Froggy" LeSuer, played by Dave Miller, and Charlie Baker, played by Tom Templeton, take a trip to Betty Meek's Fishing Lodge Resort in Tilgman County, Ga. Froggy is there to teach American soldiers about explosives. His friend Charlie has more personal reasons for needing a vacation.

"He's having marital problems," said director Marcia Bogash. "He's shy and doesn't want to talk to anybody."

The set for the play is realistic, thanks to set director Phil Grout.

"We have nothing left in our house," said Mr. Grout, who "donated" items for the play. "I've been to fishing lodges, and I've lived in rural Georgia."

He said that designing sets allowed him to fulfill a childhood desire.

"When I was a child I wasn't really allowed to decorate my room, so now I do sets," he said.

Cast member Dave Miller also returned to his youth to prepare for his role as Englishman Froggy.

"When I was in junior high, I had a friend, and he and I used to do British accents just for fun," Mr. Miller said. "I enjoy doing the accent."

Froggy tells the proprietor of the lodge, Betty Meeks, that Charlie doesn't speak English. Word quickly spreads about the strange "foreigner."

The town is filled with colorful characters, including some villains.

"I play this mean guy," said Jim Naylor. "Owen Musser is a mean, red-necked, bigoted, dumb hick."

In real life, Mr. Naylor is a regional sanitarian with the Maryland health department. He said that playing a character like Owen Musser was "a real challenge."

Since everyone believes Charlie cannot understand English, he is able to learn secrets -- such as the fact that the Rev. David Marshall Lee, played by Tom Scanlan, is a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Adding to the chaos is the unplanned pregnancy of the minister's fiancee, Catherine Simms, played by Lisa Biddle.

The comedy is heightened by Catherine's brother Ellard.

"He's not too intelligent," said Gary Masimore 2nd, who plays Ellard Simms. "Even if I were to mess up on stage, no one would notice."

"Gary is hysterical as Ellard. He's got a face like rubber," Ms. Bogash said.

"We have found that we do really well with comedies," she said. "The community seems to enjoy it."

Mr. Naylor thinks that the comedy is just what Carroll County needs. "After this hard, icy winter," he said, "it will be a good way for people to come and have fun."

Frock's Sunnybrook Farm is on Bond Street in Westminster. Doors will open at 5:45 p.m. with dinner at 6:45 p.m. and show at 8:15 p.m. today, tomorrow, March 18-19 and March 24-26. Doors will open at 1 p.m. with dinner at 2 p.m. on March 20. Tickets are $18 for all shows except March 20 and 24, when tickets are $17. For tickets and information, call 876-2220.

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