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THE FOREIGNER

April 26 - May 21, 2017

The Foreigner

Starring Shirley Patton, Beth Boulay
and Erny Rosales

Local theatre legend Shirley Patton will once again grace the Camelot stage starring in The Foreigner. The scene is a fishing lodge in rural Georgia often visited by "Froggy" LeSeuer. This time Froggy has brought along a friend, a pathologically shy young man named Charlie who is overcome with fear at the thought of making conversation with strangers. Froggy must leave, so in an attempt to help his shy friend, he tells Betty (Patton), the owner of the lodge that Charlie is a foreigner that neither speaks nor understands English. Once alone the fun really begins, as Charlie overhears more than he should - the evil plans of a sinister, two-faced minister and his redneck associate. What he does fuels the nonstop hilarity of the play and sets up the wildly funny climax in which things go uproariously awry for the "bad guys," and the "good guys" emerge triumphant.

Tickets: $18 - $34

 


Camelot Theatre presents, The Foreigner.

Play: The Foreigner
Playwright: Larry Shue
Directed by: Roy Von Rains, Jr.
Starring: Shirley Patton, Beth Boulay and Erny Rosales
Production Run: April 26 - May 21, 2017
Location: Camelot Theatre, 101 Talent Ave at Main St., Talent, OR
When: Preview, Thursday, April 26th, 8:00pm. Opening Night, Friday, April 27th and runs through May 21st. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays matinee at 2 p.m.
Prices: Tickets are $18 for the Thursday, April 26th Preview. Regular reserved seating ticket prices are $27-$34.
Outlet: Tickets can be purchased online at www.CamelotTheatre.org and by phone or in person at the theater box office.
Box Office Hours: 12 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and one hour before performances.

Camelot Theatre is pleased to present the hilarious comedy The Foreigner. Showing April 21st - May 21st. The setting is Betty Meeks' fishing lodge in rural Georgia, a sleepy little place - until Charlie Baker shows up, a painfully shy British gentleman speaking a strange language and claiming to understand no English. Charlie adopts the persona of a foreigner who doesn't understand English. He unwittingly becomes the focal point of Southern hospitality when others begin to speak freely around him. He not only becomes privy to all the town’s dangerous and frivolous secrets, he also discovers an adventurous extrovert within himself with unexpected and hilarious results.

Local theater legend Shirley Patton once again graces the Camelot stage in this production, starring as Betty Meeks, the lodge owner. Shirley's previous roles at the theatre include Arsenic & Old Lace and Driving Miss Daisy. The Foreigner also stars Beth Boulay as Catherine Simms, and Ernie Rosales as Charlie Baker. The cast of actors includes; Dan Hanvey, Jeff Mercer, John Richardson and Zaq Wentworth.

The Foreigner runs April 26th - May 21st. Tickets are $18 for the preview. All other regular performances are $27-$34. Tickets can be purchased online at www.CamelotTheatre.org, by phone or in person at the theater box office. BOX OFFICE HOURS: 12 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and one hour before performances. Camelot Box Office can be reached at 541-535-5250 or online at CamelotTheatre.org. The Theatre is located at the corners of Talent Ave. and Main Street in Talent.

CAST BIOS

Shirley Patton ~ Betty Meeks
Shirley Patton was for 30 seasons a member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival acting company. She has also enjoyed performing at Southern Oregon University as a guest artist and at Actors' Theatre, New Playwrights Theatre, Ashland Contemporary Theatre, and Oregon Stage Works. Her Camelot Theatre work includes Arsenic and Old Lace, Driving Miss Daisy, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, Grapes of Wrath, Spitfire Grill, and Zorba. She has narrated four Camelot Spotlights. Patton is a founding member of the Extended Circle which is in its 26th year presenting variety shows in nursing facilities and retirement centers. She is also the voice of "As It Was" on Jefferson Public Radio.

Beth Boulay ~ Catherine Simms
Beth has appeared most recently as Teresa (How the Other Half Loves, Collaborative Theatre Project), Daniel (The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), Camelot's Adventure Series), and Judy Turner (A Chorus Line, The Randall Theatre). At Southern Oregon University: Linda (The Drunken City), Girl Bad Idea Bear (Avenue Q), and Ensemble (The Cyrano Project). Some favorite roles in the Bay Area include: Jill in Equus (City Lights Theatre Company, San Jose), Perdita in A Winter's Tale (Foothill College, Los Altos Hills), and Lucy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Foothill Theatre Conservatory). Beth is a Bay Area native and holds a BFA in Performance from Southern Oregon University.

Erny Rosales ~ Charlie Baker
The Foreigner marks Rosales' 12th production here at Camelot. Originally from Northern California and a graduate of Chico State University, he arrived to the Rogue Valley and began working at various theaters. Notable Camelot roles include: Billis in South Pacific, Andre in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Ali Hakim in Oklahoma!. Other roles include Mark Cohen in RENT, Harold Hill in The Music Man (Thanks for the Memories Theatre) and Miss Lucy in Sherlock Holmes...Clockwork Prince (Randall Theatre).

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THEATRE REVIEWS

Strong acting in 'The Foreigner' keep it lively and funny

by Jeffrey Gillespie for the Daily Tidings

"The Foreigner" by Larry Shue has been a 30-plus year favorite of the theater, and with good reason. Well written, with excellent language and a highly original plot, it's always an enjoyable show to see.

Camelot's version of this hallowed play is no exception, with humor and folksiness writ large against the background of a crumbling resort lodge in small town Georgia.

When Charlie (Erny Rosales) arrives at the resort, his inherent shyness is multiplied by the fact that he is in a state of chronic depression, having been cuckolded yet again by his wildly promiscuous wife. At the urging of his friend, Froggy (John Richardson), a plummy British explosives expert (you can see where this is going) he is encouraged, as a mechanism for solitude, to pretend that he is a foreigner who can't speak a word of English. So begins a comedic odyssey in which Charlie, surrounded by assorted well-meaning but provincial characters, becomes increasingly trapped by his own transgressions. Forced to mime his way through most of the play until one of the locals manages to "teach" him English, Charlie is accosted variously by Betty (Shirley Patton), the aging and folksy owner of the inn; Catherine (Beth Boulay), a frisky heiress with a problem marriage; David (Dan Harvey), her manipulative pastor husband with a scheming personality; Ellard (Zaq Wentworth), Catherine's slow-witted brother, and, most problematically, Owen (Jeff Mercer), a local redneck with Klan sympathies.

It's odd that this is an American play, because it has all the hallmarks of a classic doorbanger of the British stage. There are plenty of misunderstandings, upstairs/downstairs shenanigans, and, of course, the inevitable arrival of men in sheets. Plots and subplots are hatched, with Charlie presiding over all of the intrigue as the "safe" émigré who can’t possibly know what's being discussed. These kinds of shows are usually reduced to corny mush over a period of a couple of hours, but with Roy Von Rains, Jr. directing and some strong performances, "The Foreigner" stays lively and funny for the duration.

This is thanks in no small part to Rosales, whose performance is excellent. For the first two thirds of the play, he has few lines, but he conveys everything about his character in a sort of deranged Kabuki style that is really fun to watch. Rosales has a gift for highly stylized comedy; He winces and cringes his way through some great moments. Watching him tell a "story" in his "native language" to an enraptured onstage audience towards the end of the play is one of the funniest things I've yet seen at Camelot.

The other standout performer of the night was Shirley Patton as Betty, the somewhat bewildered but well-meaning patroness of the inn at which Charlie is staying. Patton is a 30 year veteran of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and an AEA level actor, and that certainly shows up in her portrayal. Her unbridled incredulity is a complete riot to watch. Good-natured attempts at understanding her guest turn into outsized gestures of earnest sincerity. Betty's own need for validation is projected onto a non-existent "understanding" she has with her new international friend, whom she accosts at every turn in an attempt to be helpful. Patton is no spring chicken, and her energy and professionalism onstage are a credit to her colleagues.

Jeff Mercer has some excellent, if terrifying, moments as the stereotypical angry, confused, Southern white man, and Zaq Wentworth is engaging as the endearing halfwit. The rest of the cast does their job well, and the result is a tightly wound, raucous night of theater that is well worth the price of admission. Needless to say, all's well that ends well by the time the curtain drops on "The Foreigner."

Camelot's 'Foreigner' engaging and well-timed

by Evalyn Hansen for the Mail Tribune

Larry Shue's 1983 play "The Foreigner," now at the Camelot Theatre in Talent, is a touching and stimulating comedy. Though some might classify the play as a substantive sit-com, the story is skillfully woven, delivering some timely social commentary.

On a dark and stormy night in rural Georgia, at a small dilapidated fishing lodge near an army base, explosives expert Sgt. Froggy LeSueur drops off his old war buddy, Charlie Baker (the marvelous Erny Rosales), for "a forest retreat" as respite from Charlie's worry and exhaustion from caring for his ailing but unfaithful wife.

Heartbroken, tragically depressed and shattered by lack of self-esteem, Charlie feels he is too boring to be of interest. He is petrified by the thought of idle conversation. His life question is: "How does one acquire a personality?" Through Froggy's well-meaning machinations, Charlie unwittingly masquerades as a non-English speaker.

The lodge is owned by Betty Meeks (the adorable Shirley Patton) who, enchanted by what is new and different and hankering for exposure to different cultures, takes to Charlie. Considering him picturesque, she welcomes him in, and they develop what she calls "extra circular communication."

One of the lodge guests is Catherine Simms (the charming Beth Boulay), an heiress to a "prepared meats" fortune. Catherine, who now considers her former debutante existence as stupid, regards herself as one of those people who are "just a waste of food." Facing the prospect of having to get married sooner rather than later, she is going crazy with no one to talk to.

Catherine's brother, Ellard (the marvelous Zag Wentworth), is sweet, adorable and somewhat developmentally disabled. Ellard first engages Charlie with elaborate body language; then they begin "working on words."

Catherine's fiance, the conniving Rev. David Marshal Lee (the outstanding Dan Hanvey), motivated by power and greed, is involved in a scheme to condemn and acquire Betty's fishing lodge and to deprive Ellard of his fortune. His sidekick is Owen (the robust Jeff Mercer), a menacing crusty redneck who likes dynamite (not just for fishing).

Much of the comedy surrounds how we relate to people of a different language and culture. The play is a witty commentary on the barriers of language and efficacy of learning.

How do we relate to someone who doesn't speak our language? Do we assume they're partially deaf and speak too loudly to them? When they look at us quizzically, do we explain things with way too many words? Are we condescending as Catherine was to Charlie: "Do your people bend in the middle? Have a seat!" Or do we use the person as a sounding board to reveal our innermost secrets, thinking that he won't understand a word?

Shue points out that foreigners are often an easy target for hatred and frustration. When Owen meets Charlie, he says: "The last time I saw a foreigner, he was wiggling on the end of my bayonet."

News of the outside world foreshadows events when Catherine reads in the local newspaper that someone has torched the Klan headquarters. She warns, "Watch out for them, mister, those Klan boys. They'll get you. You’re not a hundred percent American white Christian, you’re liable to find yourself some fine morning flopping around in some Safeway Dumpster, minus a few things."

As Ellard teaches Charlie the rudiments of English, he finds that "To teach is to learn," and they mutually develop competence and confidence.

A dark and stormy night leads to a day for surprises. Will it unify and empower the community or succumb to darkness and division? How they get there is a real surprise and invites the possibility of romance. Froggy (the dynamic John Richardson) frames the piece nicely with his unique perspective on the astounding proceedings.

The set, designed by Sunshine Klein, creates the perfect psychological interior for the proceedings: a dusty ramshackle lobby where repair and improvements consist of plywood, decorative contact paper and duct tape.

Skillfully directed by Roy Von Rains, the play maintains high energy, with delightful chemistry between the well-drawn characters. The ensemble cast valiantly skitters on the edge of absolute sincerity and extreme physical comedy to truly engage the audience.

"The Foreigner" plays through May 21. For more information and to purchase tickets, call the box office at 541-535-5250 or visit camelottheatre.org.