Foreign Tongue

Written by:

Lola Xenos

Cast Size:

Roles For:

  • Men: 11
  • People of Colour: 9
  • Women: 7






90 min.

Year Written:



In Foreign Tongue, Kathy is a young urban professional who experiences a stroke, falls into a coma, and wakes up six weeks later with a thick Russian accent that leaves her mistaken for a refugee. Through her experience finds true love and friendship yet can she face the consequences of her lie?


KATHY WOODROUGH from Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. Russian and Standard Canadian pronunciation. Caucasian. 30s-40s.

VIŠNJA from Sarajevo. Bosnian accent. Caucasian. 40s-50s.

NURSE CANNON  English language dialect. She is a visible minority from a country colonized by the British. NURSE’S dialect and race may challenge our typical expectations:  i.e. a Jamaican of Asian background or an Australian of East Indian background. Visible minority. 20’s-50’s.

ZAINAB from Saudi Arabia. Saudi accent. Any race. 20’s-50’s.

ESL INSTRUCTOR Standard Canadian pronunciation. Any race. 20-50’s.

GIVENS. Standard Canadian pronunciation. Any race. 20-50’s.

MADELINE Non-standard pronunciation. Possible: Vietnamese accent. Chinese accent. Punjabi Accent. Details/specifics may be adjusted to suit the background of the actor. Asian, East Asian 30s-50s.

Dr. BROOKE Eastern European Jewish background. Standard Canadian pronunciation. Caucasian. 40s-60s.

FARROKH  20’s – 30’s. Non-standard speech. Possible: Iranian accent. South African accent. Details/specifics may be adjusted to suit the background of the actor.

PELE 20’s -30’s from Brazil Any Race

DRY CLEANER 20’s – 40’s. from Punjab or other non-standard Canadian pronunciation for DRY CLEANER. East Asian, Black or Arab.

DIRECTOR Brazilian accent.  Standard Canadian pronunciation for DIRECTOR. Black. 20s-50s.

PAUL LEE from Korea, 30s-40s. Korean accent for PAUL LEE.

CHINESE ENGINEER, 20’s – 40’s Chinese accent for Chinese Engineer.

CASTING DIRECTOR 20’s -40’s for Human Traffic. Standard Canadian pronunciation for CASTING DIRECTOR. Asian.

DAVID from Picton. Standard Canadian pronunciation. Caucasian. 30s-50s.

YURA Russian accent. 30’s-40’s. Caucasian.

OK CUPID DATE 30’s Australian, British, Irish, Scottish or Welsh accent. Caucasian.

First Produced:

The Next Stage Festival, Toronto, ON, 2019


Foreign Tongue is available in the anthology Scripting (Im)migration: New Canadian Plays published by Playwrights Canada Press.

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This play contains 11 “audible minority” roles (characters for whom English and French are not their first language and who are nonstandard speakers) and 9 for visible minority actors. The visible minority roles all overlap with the audible minority roles.
The playwright identifies as an audible minority.