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James Sherman’s “Beau Jest” is a classic family comedy, Beau Jest comes to the Mid-Michigan award-winning professional theatre company. Performance runs Nov. 16 to Dec. 23 at the Williamston Theatre with a pay-what-you-can session, and preview nights before the opening. It’s a charming comedy Sarah, a Jewish girl whose parents expect her to bring home a Jewish boyfriend. Things go awry when she brings home someone they weren’t expecting. According to the director Tony Caselli, Beau Jest is a “show with heart.”
“Beau Jest” is a family comedy, but for those who don’t know, could you give us a summary?
It's a funny, sweet and warm-hearted romantic comedy. It's about a woman who knows her family is not going to approve of her boyfriend because they are Jewish and he's not. Then she hires an actor to portray a different boyfriend. When she visits her parents, he pretends to be her boyfriend. Of course, everything goes wrong from there.
It's about family, love and trusting that while living your own life, you are still respectful and loving to good people in your life.
Did you make any adaptions? How is this production bringing something new to this story?
The play is set a few years ago in the late 1990s. We did not change that; it really works where it is. But we set the play in a round, which means the audience is on all sides of the stage, surrounding the actors, and everybody is close. I believe it will be a really fun time exploring the play in that way. Because normally, it's in a standard apartment set. This time, we've decided to do a more minimal approach to the scenery, we made it about the actors, the text and the fun.
The protagonist Saraha is a Jewish girl, how did you portray her character?
We have one of the casts is Jewish, and a director who works at Williamston theatre is Jewish. Even though I am directing this show, she has been acting as a constant for us which is really helpful. It wouldn't be appropriate for us to do it without having any some Jewish recommendation, interests and experiences. It's been a great process for everybody. I really enjoyed it.
What’s your favorite part in this production?
The cast. They are terrific – they are funny and sweet. We are rooting for everybody to win. It's a mix of folks I have known before and folks that are fun to get to know as we are doing this project.
What are your hopes with the show, personally and/or professionally?
Personally, my hope is the audience will come away from the show and have had a good time. One of the things we talk a lot at Williamston is the kind play we love doing : making you laugh, making you cry, making you call the people you love and spend time with them. I think this play is one of those. I hope people leave this wanting to be with people they like, and wanting to have a little more insight into living their own life truthfully, which is the main journey of Sarah, the protagonist goes on. Professionally, of course for Williamston Theatre, we really hope people join us and enjoy the show.
Thursday, Nov. 16-
Saturday, Dec. 23
Tickets range from
$29 Williamston Theatre 122 S. Putnam St.,
Williamstontheatre.org. (517) 655-7469