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Hatrix Theatre brings back The Foreigner

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Local theatre company Hatrix Theatre is revisiting the Foreigner, May 10-13 at McNally Community Centre.

“It’s the tenth anniversary of  our first performance of the Foreigner. It’s a lovely play,” said director Karolyn Harker.

Hatrix staged Larry Shue’s 1983 comedy 10 years ago. 

“ It’s fun and entertaining. But the play also has some important messages about the ability to change for the better and about the makings of friendships between people who didn’t expect to become friends,” Harker continued.

“They work together against a group of people who are greedy and power hungry,” Harker said.

Jocelyn Steinborn and Michael Dyck rehearse a scene from Hatrix Theatre’s May10-13  production of the Foreigner. Photo by Richard Amery


“The Foreigner” is about science fiction magazine editor, Charlie, who’s friend, army demolitions expert Staff Sgt Froggie LaSeur brings to Meeks Lodge in rural Georgia in the early ’80s to escape the stress of an ailing and cheating wife. Froggy convinces everyone Charlie can’s speak English so the occupants, a widow, a pregnant former debutante, a sinister minister and a Klansman will leave him alone.


“ Instead he hears a lot of deeply personal and sometimes alarming conversations he shouldn’t, and comedic mayhem ensues as Charlie helps them protect his new family and help them become better versions of themselves while acquiring a personality of his own,” Harker said.

 The production features a couple cast members from the first production including Richard Amery and Jeff Graham who reprise their roles of Ellard and Owen respectively.


“We have a wonderful cast. We have two people from the original cast and several new actors who have to drive long distances to give us the benefits of their great talent,“ she enthused.

 Maren Coates, playing Catherine and Michael Dyck who plays Staff Sgt. Froggy Laseur come in from Fort Macleod three times a week for rehearsals and Jocelyn Steinborn, who won the best actress award and best director in the Chinook One Act Play Festival this year with Taber Players comes in from Taber.


 The cast also includes newcomer Brent Cutforth playing ‘the foreigner’ Charlie. he was also in the Gazebo last year. Local theatre veteran Vittorio Oliverio plays David.


Jocelyn Steinborn has wanted to be part of the Foreigner since Taber Players put it on, also in 2013.


“I was just a grunt, the assistant director when Taber Players put it on. I loved it, so I jumped at the chance to play Betty,” Steinborn said.


“ I feel Ms. Meeks was once strong and vibrant, but after years of financial problems and after losing her husband, she’s in an existential slump, but the foreigner arrives and gives her joy and purpose,” said Steinborn of her character.

 She  loves the script.

“It’s funny. These are innocent, simple folks. It doesn’t make fun of them,” she said, adding  she also loves Betty’s belief in ‘Charlie.’

 Maren Coates plays ex-debutante Catherine. She  saw the Carriage House Theatre  put on “The Foreigner” and wanted to be involved.

“It’s a very witty comedy and we need  more witty comedies,” said Coates, a University of Lethbridge graduate who teaches drama and has directed plays in Fort Macleod.

“The characters are unique. They start off as stereotypes, but they grow and as you get to know them,” Coates observed.


“Catherine is unique. She used to be a débutante. She’s in a relationship that is not beneficial to her and she has to take care of her brother. She’s tough. Her parents have died, but she only mentions that once in passing,” Coates said adding it has been interesting to do an in depth character study into her character. 

Maren Coates and Vittorio Oliverio rehearse a scene from Hatrix Theatre’s May10-13  production of the Foreigner. Photo by Richard Amery

 She is usually directing plays, including 12 Angry Jurors, Peter Schaffer’s Black Comedy in Fort Macleod  at the Empress Theatreand with a high school in Scotland, when she was living there.


“ I took  a couple of directing courses in university and really enjoyed them and found there was a demand for directors,” Coates said, adding she is glad to be back on stage.

“ It’s been a lot of driving, but I get to act with my friends,” she said.


 Jefferey Graham is happy to reprise one of his favourite roles — Owen the Klansman and main villain in “the Foreigner.”


“ He‘s my favourite role  probably because he is completely the opposite of who I am as a person so it requires a lot of work. It’s takes an emotional toll to be that angry for that long,” Graham said, adding  he has added a lot of nuances to his character compared to when he played him 10 years ago wth Hatrix.


“Owen was yelling a lot last last time, but I learned he is a lot more sinister when I recite his lines quieter,” Graham continued, adding he also wanted to work with director Karolyn Harker again.

“ I wanted to be in the Foreigner again because it is a comedy and I love working with Karolyn,” he said adding he also enjoyed working with a mostly new cast.


“I’ve worked with a couple of them before. I’ve worked with Jocelyn a lot. I’ve enjoyed working with the new cast members,” Graham continued.


He is looking forward to opening night.


“I just love playing for an audience. I want to see their reaction to  Owen ,” he said.


“I just look forward to entertaining the audience. I hope they find the lines in the play as funny as I still do,” Steinborn said.


Hatrix Theatre brings “the Foreigner” to Meeks’ Lodge at McNally Community Centre (210075 township road 82), May 10-13. Tickets are available for $20 in advance from CASA or online at and at the door if there are any left. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. each night. Doors open at 7 p.m. 

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor

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