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“The Foreigner” Draws Crowds, Helps Raise Funds

Apr 07, 2016 02:17PM ● Published by Amanda Butler

By Amanda Butler | amanda@mycityjournals.com

Midvale - In February, Midvale Arts Council (MAC) presented “The Foreigner.” A total of 469 people attended the play over the eight nights of the performance.

In the play, “Froggy” LeSueur brings his friend Charlie Baker to Betty Meeks’ fishing lodge. “Froggy feels that his friend is depressed and needs to get away, so he brings him to Georgia to just relax and have a vacation,” actor Christopher Kucera said. “And of course his friend, who is shy, doesn’t want to talk to anyone and makes it difficult. So he concocts this crazy, hare-brained scheme that his friend is actually a foreigner and doesn’t know how to speak English, and winds up setting up the whole play.”

Bruce Craven, who directed the play, said, “I like ‘The Foreigner’ because it has so many levels, even though it’s a very simple story. You’ve got Charlie, who is not happy to be where he’s at, and yet he finds out people like him in spite of who he thinks he is. So while it’s a very funny show, it’s also very timely, even though it’s set in the 1980s.”

One of the characters Charlie meets is Catherine Simms, who was played by Krystal Funk. 

“She’s really fun,” Funk said of her character. “She definitely has a very high character arc. She starts as a very tense character but as the show goes on and she meets Charlie, she becomes a person that is much more sweet and the person that she really wants to become.”

Tommy Kay played Ellard Simms, Catherine’s brother, who becomes friends with Charlie while “teaching” him to speak English. 

“Ellard is a very funny character. He’s very optimistic and I think there’s almost a naive quality about him that’s very endearing, just because he’s the person that sees the best in everybody until he’s proven wrong,” Kay said. “So he’s kind of able to just like look at you and trust you for what you are until you prove him wrong. He’s also not the brightest, so I think he tries to use what he’s doing as a way to maybe make up for what could be a lack of intelligence.”

But not all the play’s characters are helpful and nice. Jim Schroeder played Owen Musser, one of the villains in the story. “I’m a backwoods, kind of redneck type,” Schroeder said of his character. “I’m real overbearing and obnoxious on the show — I’m kind of pushing things and I’ve got an agenda.”

“It is one of those shows that’s very melodramatic,” Kucera said. “There are some twists, but from the get-go you very much get these are the heroes, I like them; these are the bad guys, I don’t like them. And you get to see, in a very funny way, the bad guys fail, which is fun.”

In addition to entertaining audiences with onstage antics, the play also provided MAC with an opportunity to raise money for the upcoming summer concert series.

“We were able to collect $771 from our patrons to go towards our matching grant that we won from the Levitt AMP Grant Foundation,” producer Melody Chapman said. “This means they will also give us $771 for a total of $1,542 so far. Each committee has a goal of $3,000 so we are slowly but surely making a dent in our goal for the production’s committee.”

MAC’s other upcoming productions include:

“Chess the Musical in Concert,” a fundraiser which will be presented August 11-13.

A production with Missoula Children’s Theater, scheduled for September 19-24.

“Wait Until Dark,” October 21-29, just in time for Halloween.

Visit http://www.midvalearts.com for more information.

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