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Encore to present ‘The Foreigner’

Angie Mayes • Updated Jul 12, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Encore Theatre Co. will present “The Foreigner” by Larry Shue for two weekends July 13-22.

A romantic comedy, “The Foreigner” is a long-running off-Broadway comedy about how people perceive one another, their society and themselves. The complex, albeit perfectly logical, set of complications that propel the plot are sparked by a morose Englishman named Charlie, whose unfaithful wife has convinced him that he is one of the world’s dullest men.

A friend of his, an Army explosives expert named Froggy, is doing some consulting work at an American military base in Georgia and convinces Charlie to come along. Charlie, immersed in depression, does not want to meet or talk to anyone, so Froggy devises a scheme to protect Charlie from the people at a small guesthouse with the elegant name of Betty Meeks’s Fishing Lodge Resort. He introduces Charlie as a foreigner who cannot speak or understand English.

The reaction of the various characters to Charlie, the now exotic foreigner, says a great deal about human nature and is often sidesplittingly funny. The residents and visitors to Betty Meeks’ Fishing Lodge are a collection of easily identifiable representative types.

‘’The Foreigner’’ is a fantasy of good and evil in which, not surprisingly, good triumphs. The play has enough warmth and truth in it that it is not only funny, but also often moving.

Director Don Breedwell said the play features a first-rate cast. James Bealor plays the self-deprecating Charlie. Sarah McKay plays the good-natured and accommodating hostess, Betty Meeks. Steven Stroud portrays the lovable Ellard. Shea Hurst and James Laxton plays the mismatched lovers, and Wulff is properly cast as the loathsome, mean-spirited property inspector. Riley Flowers is the stiff-upper-lip British military cool in the face of what appears to him an incomprehensible maneuver.

Joe Noe has designed a set to create a comfortable, well-lived room for the fishing lodge, Breedwell said.

“We chose this show as part of our 2018 season due to audience requests,” said Breedwell. “Several of our patrons had remembered the show from where we had presented it years back and wanted us to bring it back to the stage. “

Breedwell said although the show is lighthearted, there is a deeper meaning.

“Good will always triumph over evil,” he said. “The ability to accept an individual regardless of their heritage, country of origin, beliefs or abilities enriches everyone’s life.   

The show takes place July 13-14 at 7:30 p.m. and July 15 at 2:30 p.m. then again July 20-21 at 7:30 p.m. and July 22 at 2:30 p.m.

Breedwell said like in other shows, “The audition process allows us to choose cast members from the community who have a desire and are willing to make the time commitment for a full-stage production. 

“We pull actors within our community. Those wishing to participate will audition and have made time and commitment to participate.”

Since the actors are all volunteers Breedwell said, “our community theatre does not pay actors. If we had the luxury of being a professional theatre and could pay different actors for each show, that would mean our audience tickets would be at least twice the cost. We do work closely with actors who have been in multiple shows to help them create a character for each specific show, so they do not repeat a stale character from show-to-show. We welcome anyone to audition for our upcoming radio show, ‘Pygmalion,’ and our mystery main stage show, ‘The Uninvited.’

“The show is delightfully funny and more part of today’s culture than when we selected it as part of our 2018 season over a year ago. It is odd how life imitates art, or is it the other way around?  Come visit the theatre during this show and find out.”

After the shows, the actors and backstage personnel meet with the audience. 

“Our audiences, actors and backstage personnel love to hear from the audiences,” Breedwell said.

Breedwell said Encore’s season is chosen by “a committee of audience members, actors, directors, and others submit plays for consideration, and the committee sorts through the plays and presents a slate to the board of directors to identify shows for consideration. The technical team reviews for cost of production, and the creative team suggest time slots. The new season is announced in November each year.  

He said the shows, “should be appealing for our demographic, available for sponsors and be entertaining so that attending our show gives you the magic of theatre and reduces life’s anxiety through laughter or allows one to go on a journey to places or topics otherwise not available.”

Betty and Richard Quay sponsored “The Foreigner.” 

“Their gift covered the royalties, along with additional funds for a great set. We are very thankful for their gift,” Breedwell said.  

Ticket prices are  $12 for seniors and youth and $15 for adults. They are available through tickestsnashville.com or those interested may make reservations by calling 615-598-8950 and pay at the door in cash or by card. 

The theatre is at 6978 Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet. For more information, visit encore-theatre-company.org.

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