SONORA — In the comic movie "Borat," a man gets away with all sorts of bizarre behavior by pretending to be from an obscure country.
"The Foreigner," a play running at Sonora's Stage 3 Theatre, covers much the same ground, but it isn't as consistently funny and just plods along.
Directed by Maryann Curmi and written by Larry Shue, the 1984 show centers on a painfully shy British man who vacations in a fishing lodge in rural Georgia. He's scared to have a conversation with anyone, so his friend suggests that he pretend he's from an exotic land and can't speak a word of English.
Soon he's learning every secret in town and is enjoying making up his own language and his own customs.
David Braga, a Modestan who stars as the title character, Charlie, does have some humorous moments.
One of the best is when he tells the story of "Little Red Riding Hood" in gibberish and acts out all the parts. He also gets a lot of laughs in his attempts to spook Ku Klux Klan members who want to take over the lodge.
But other scenes are dull, as in the lengthy exposition in the beginning, when the characters are introduced and when a local teaches Charlie some English words.
Among the supporting characters, the standouts are John Bell as Charlie's boisterous best friend, Sharon Perras as feisty, aging lodge owner Betty Meeks and Michael Crich as thuggish county property inspector Owen Musser. Rob Smittle is endearing as sweet but dimwitted lodge handyman Ellard.
Michelle Woodall is a bit too shrill as Ellard's sister, Southern belle Catherine Simms, and Al Lemke overdoes the bad-guy act as her shifty fiancé, the Rev. David Marshall Lee.
With the exception of Bell, nobody in the cast is very good at sticking to their British or Southern accents.
Ron Cotnam makes the fishing lodge set inviting with board games, cans of soft drinks and comfortable furniture.
Rain, thunder and lighting effects are skillfully provided by Bell, who doubles as sound designer, and lighting designer Matthew Leamy.
Though it doesn't offer enough laughs, "The Foreigner" provides a glimpse into the fun it can be to be a stranger in a strange land.