Langley’s Michael Powell, Surrey’s Emily Wheeler, and Langley’s Philip Hale are among the actors rehearsing for Langley Players upcoming production of The Foreigner. (Special to the Langley Advance)

WIN: Milner actor taps into inner jokester for Langley Players comedy

The curtain goes up on The Foreigners next Thursday at the Langley Playhouse.

A mix of Surrey and Maple Ridge residents outnumber the Langleyites bringing their acting abilities and wit to bear on the Langley Playhouse next week.

• VIDEO BY JACQUELINE AINSWORTH

But one Langley resident, who’s making his debut on the local stage in the upcoming production of The Foreigner, is Michael Powell.

The 59-year-old Milner landscaper started acting back in the 1980s and ’90s, performing in a few Gilbert and Sullivan numbers.

This upcoming opening of Larry Shue’s The Foreigner, set to open Thursday, Jan. 25, gives Powell his first opportunity to do a non-musical comedy.

Turns out, he’s loving the experience.

“I love doing this, and being on stage making a complete fool of myself, I’m okay with that,” said Powell, who has performed in two shows with the neighbouring troupe at Surrey Little Theatre.

“If I can make someone laugh, I know I’ve done a good performance.”

Praising the show’s director and his fellow cast members, Powell explained that he’s spent three nights a week (sometimes more) since before Christmas with these people.

“We’ve already had so many laughs in rehearsal, and that’s going to shine through in the play,” he said.

Powell plays the character of Owen in this production, a part he specifically auditioned for.

“He presented a challenge for me. He is completely opposite of who I am,” Powell said.

“Owen is a really redneck and generally self-centred jerk. You have to stretch your boundaries once in a while, right?”

The Foreigner is a comedy about an Englishman named Charlie, who is whisked off by his friend to a fishing lodge in rural Georgia.

This character, played by Maple Ridge’s Paul Beckett, is overcome by anxiety over meeting new people, so his friend tells the proprietor that Charlie cannot speak English.

The plan, of course, backfires, Charlie’s friend leaves, and Charlie soon finds himself the confidant of everyone at the lodge, including a young man who thinks he is teaching Charlie English.

He proceeds to interact with the locals – some friendly, some not – and unwittingly uncovers a plot to take the lodge away from its owner, a sweet widow who has been kind to Charlie.

When describing the play, director Helen Embury uses words such as “non-stop hilarity,” and “funny climax.”

The Foreigner won two Obie Awards and two Outer Critics Circle Awards as best new American play and best Off-Broadway production.

“I was drawn to this play because of its laugh-out-loud humour, clearly recognizable character types and its timeliness – given what is happening to our neighbours to the south of us in the ‘good ol’ U S of A,’” she said.

“I am delighted to be working with a very talented cast of actors who are bringing these characters to life. This is a play you will be laughing about, and talking about, long after you’ve left the theatre.”

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Extra shows added to the mix

The play runs until Feb. 24, with shows Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. Sunday matinees, and a few added shows being hosted Wednesday evenings on Feb. 14 and 21, plus an extra matinee on Saturday, Feb. 24.

Tickets are $15 and available by calling 604-534-7469, via email at reservations@langleyplayers.com, or online through brownpapertickets.com.

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How to win!

Two lucky Langley Advance readers will each win a pair of tickets to Langley Players’ production of The Foreigner, running Jan. 25 to Feb. 24.

How do you win?

Click here, and tell us why you want to win. You will be entered into the draw.

Preference will be given to Langley residents.

Postings must be received prior to midnight on Wednesday, Jan. 24, and the winner will be notified by email and/or phone. No staff or family of the Langley Advance or Black Press are eligible. This giveaway is restricted to online participants, 19 years or older only. Must include name and phone number.

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