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OCTC Leaves the
Charles Raison Theatre
Ringing With Laughter

Story by Liz Warren
Photo by Ben Gorman

By now, it’s common knowledge that Sedona Arts Center is closing the Charles W. Raison Theatre for good. But don’t come to Oak Creek Theatre Company’s final production at the venue with expectations of glum actors and visions of Producing Artistic Director Mary Guaraldi with tears welling up in her eyes. Come expecting the sense of excitement that the theatre feels for its upcoming period of growth, and to laugh along with its current production.

After April 29, the Charles Raison Theatre may be dark, but OCTC lives on as it prepares to launch a fourth season of premier professional theatre for northern Arizona.

And what better way to end OCTC’s tenure at the Arts Center than with The Foreigner, a laugh-out-loud trip to Tilghman County, Georgia, courtesy of playwright Larry Shue.

The comedy bubbles over into more ominous territory in this hilarious and compelling glimpse into the world of a rural fishing lodge through the eyes of shy Englishman Charlie.

Set adrift in Tilghman County for a few days by a friend, Charlie would rather pretend to not speak or understand English than face the burden of conversing with the lodge’s residents, who soon take a shine to the fellow who can’t understand or judge their foibles. Suddenly the town celebrity, Charlie’s new role as town confessor quickly shows him that nothing is quite what it seems, and he soon finds himself forced to face some very real bad guys. "I laughed start to finish at one comic surprise after another," says The New Yorker.

"The Foreigner is definitely a comedy," said Guaraldi. ". . . But somewhere in the middle it takes on a surprising depth."

Directed by Dan Schay, The Foreigner features several OCTC favorites, including Rick Davis a.k.a. Snoopy (Sgt. "Froggy" LeSueur), Benjamin Gorman from The Dining Room (Charlie Baker), Mike Levin from Sylvia (Rev. David Marshall Lee) and Michael Peach from The Glass Menagerie (Owen Musser), plus new faces Jenna Blasi (Catherine Simms), Joelle Davis (Ellie Simms) and Judy Ellickson (Betty Meeks).

The production plays through April 29 at Sedona Arts Center’s Charles W. Raison Theatre in uptown Sedona, 7:30 p.m., Wednesdays - Saturdays, with 2:00 p.m. matinees on Sundays.

General admission to The Foreigner is $15, with a $12 price available to members of SAC and a $9 price for full-time students. Group rates are available, call for details. Tickets can be purchased locally by phone at (888) 954-4442. For information on student performances, call Guaraldi at 282-3809.

All Wednesday night performances are $10, based on seating availability. Sundays feature the popular "Curtain Call" program, a post-show discussion with the actors and producer of the production. Don’t miss this behind-the-scenes peek into the world of professional theatre.

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