Synopsis: The Foreigner
In a rural fishing lodge in Georgia, Froggy LeSueur, a British demolitions expert who sometimes runs training sessions at a nearby military installation, is trying to put his friend, Charlie Baker at ease. Charlie, a proofreader whose wife finds him boring, has come along for a much needed getaway. The problem is he is pathologically shy and is terrified at the prospect of having to converse with strangers at the lodge for three days.
Froggy must leave to tend to his military responsibilities, so, in an attempt to help his shy friend, he tells Betty, the owner of the lodge, that Charlie is from an exotic foreign country and neither speaks nor understands English.
Thus, conversations at the lodge carry on around Charlie much as if he weren’t there at all, since it is assumed he can’t understand them anyway. For example, Catherine Simms informs her fiancé, the reverend David Marshall Lee, that he isn’t as sterile as he said he was and that she’s pregnant.
Owen Musser, county property inspector who has been threatening to condemn the lodge, wants a private conversation with the Reverend David. In the process, Charlie overhears a plot to undermine the value of the lodge through condemnation so that David can buy it at a bargain price. In addition, Ellard Simms, Catherine’s slow-witted brother, appears on the scene, and it becomes apparent that David is trying to make him appear to be an idiot so that he can’t inherit his half of the family money.
Through little effort on his part, Charlie endears himself to almost everyone by being a good listener (much better than they know) as they relate their problems to him. He doesn’t judge, nor does he give advice. So, Ellard tries his hand at teaching Charlie to speak English. Maybe poor Ellard isn’t so stupid after all, as Charlie makes him seem to be a natural teacher.
David and Owen soon appear with a box of ledgers, records and even dynamite, apparently salvaged from a fire of some sort. Owen’s van contains weapons and uniforms enough to reunite the “Georgia Empire.”
Froggy returns and is surprised at how well his shy friend is doing. Charlie entertains by relating a story in a strange, unintelligible dialect. Froggy agrees to return the next day, and, in private, Charlie reveals that he is having a wonderful time and may even be acquiring a personality.
Owen returns and Charlie has some fun tormenting him. David shows up with his new van, and Charlie demonstrates how well Ellard has taught him in just two days. Catherine agrees that Ellard is indeed smart enough to receive his part of the inheritance, much to the dismay of David, who decides a hasty marriage to Catherine might be in his best interest after all.
Froggy Lesueur: A British military demolitions expert who occasionally conducts field operations in rural Georgia, Froggy is Charlie’s caring friend and devises the scheme that protects Charlie from having to interact with the other guests at the lodge.
Charlie Baker: A science-fiction copy editor for a book publishing house, Charlie is in his late forties, British, and is a pathologically shy little man who has a very unfaithful wife, no personality that he can think of, and a need for peace and quiet. He has accompanied his friend, Froggy to a Georgia fishing lodge much against his own better judgment.
Catherine Simms: The very pregnant and potentially rich fiancée of the Reverend Lee, she can be a formidable force and occasionally almost too much for the good reverend to handle. She has a ready wit and a sharp tongue. She badly needs someone to talk to, and, since Charlie doesn’t bother giving advice, he suits her needs perfectly. Catherine is Ellard’s sister.
Owen Musser: The Tilghman County property inspector, Owen is a two-tattoo man: one of them, he may have gotten while drunk or on a dare; two of them means he went back for more. Beware of a two-tattoo man. Owen and the Reverend Lee are cooking up a plot to condemn Betty’s lodge so that it can be bought for their own nefarious purposes. Owen, we find, is the absolute stereotype of an ill-bred southern Klansman.
Ellard Simms: Catherine’s brother, Ellard is an agreeable young man who is a bit slow-witted. He works as a sort of handyman for Betty and needs a considerable bit of instruction in his tasks, but may not be as dull as he seems. He is due to inherit a share of the Simms family fortune, unless the Reverend Lee can convince Catherine that Ellard is too stupid to manage money, or anything else, on his own. Ellard befriends Charlie and even decides to teach him to speak English.
Casting will be held at Flannery’s Pub, Encomenderos 83, Las Condes. 2nd floor at 8.30pm on Monday 25th August
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