By Kristen Miller
Last performed at Dassel Elementary in March 1988, “The Foreigner” is coming back to Dassel-Cokato Community Theatre this time at the Dassel History Center and Ergot Museum in March.
A Fungus Amongus production (as community theater performances at the former ergot factory have been coined) “The Foreigner” was chosen after last year’s winter production of “The Diviners.”
After playing the leading role in the 1988 production, Dave Metcalf will now be directing this rendition.
“It’s one of the best scripts that I know,” he said.
Ironically, Metcalf’s wife, Linda, was the director in the 1988 production and is now a member of the cast.
For those who missed the 1988 stage performance and may be unfamiliar with the comedy, “The Foreigner” tells the story of an English soldier named Froggy, who comes to Georgia to train US soldiers on a bomb squad.
This is an annual event for Froggy, played by Jeff Carpenter, and each year he stays at Meek’s Resort and Lodge, owned by Betty Meeks, and played by Linda Metcalf.
This year, Froggy brings with him Charlie, an incredibly shy individual who is struggling in his marriage.
When Charlie, played by Tom Langemo, has to stay behind while Froggy is training on the military base, he remains quiet and keeps to himself, not wanting to mingle with the others at the resort.
As a way to get the people at the resort to leave Charlie alone, Froggy tells them Charlie is a foreigner who can’t speak English.
“That’s where the humor and confusion comes into play,” Metcalf said. “People talk to him (Charlie) as if he can’t understand.”
“He overhears some things he shouldn’t, and it pretty much snowballs from there,” Metcalf said.
The challenge for this particular production compared to the 1988 performance is making it work within the space available, Metcalf explained.
To provide a more intimate setting, “The Foreigner” will be performed on a small stage on the third level of the Dassel History Center and Ergot Museum. The last community theatre production in this space was “Arsenic and Old Lace.”
Due to limited seating, Metcalf encourages people to buy their tickets now instead of waiting for reviews.
“I think, if they talk to anybody who saw it in the ‘80s, they will hear it’s a fun show and worth seeing,” Metcalf said.
If tickets sell out before the performances, there is a better chance of scheduling additional performances, Metcalf explained. Once the production has already begun, it’s much more difficult to coordinate schedules among the cast and get the word out in advance.
Colleen Compton, programs coordinator with DC Community Education, has fond memories of the 1988 production, and was excited to hear community theater decided to perform it again.
What she found ironic about the previous performance was that she was seeing it four months before she was to marry her husband, Dennis, and move to Dassel from the Twin Cities.
“I was so impressed by the quality of the production, it was just another affirmation . . . that this is the right decision for me,” Compton said, adding that Dassel Elementary, where the production took place, also had recently received the School of Excellence award.
Ticket information and performance dates
There will be one dinner performance, Saturday, March 15 at 6 p.m. at the Dassel History Center. Tickets, with dinner, are $35 for adults, and $27 for youth.
There will be five dessert performances, including 7 p.m. evening performances Friday, March 7; Saturday, March 8; and Friday, March 14. Two matinees are scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, March 9, and Sunday, March 16. Cost for these performances are $15 for adults, and $7 for youth.
For tickets call DC Community Education, (320) 286-4120.