AUBURN — “Beau Jest,” a comedy about family and the complications of a culture clash, will open on the Community Little Theatre stage March 21.

It’s a laugh fest built around a hilarious hoax cooked up by Sarah, a nice Jewish girl. She tries to keep her parents in the dark about her involvement with Chris, who’s definitely not Jewish, but the deception quickly spins out of control.

Pat Phillips is directing the show’s six actors. The cast includes veterans of previous comedies and dramas at CLT and other local theaters.

Vicki Machado portrays Sarah and Paul Menezes plays the actor, Bob, whom Sarah hires to convince her parents she has a perfect boyfriend and the man of her mother’s dreams.

Machado has been doing shows at CLT for the past seven years. Most recently, she was seen as Aunt Martha in “Arsenic and Old Lace.” Menezes recently played Vinnie in CLT’s “The Odd Couple.”

Sue Pilote and Sean Wallace play Sarah’s parents, Miriam and Abe Goldman. Playing the role of Chris will be Zachary Powell. Eric Cyr will appear as Sarah’s brother, Joel.

Pat Phillips, who is directing this production of “Beau Jest,” noted that none of the actors are Jewish. She said that presented a real-life “learning experience” for them.

One of the key scenes is a Seder meal. In preparation for their roles, the cast took part in the ceremonial Jewish custom with the assistance of people associated with CLT who could teach the actors the background and proper ritual presentation.

“The humor is in the relationships,” Phillips said. Sarah tells her parents that she is no longer seeing Chris, but continues to date him in secret. She invents “Bob” and tells her parents he’s Jewish and a doctor. They insist on inviting him to dinner, so Sarah calls an agency to hire an actor for the duplicitous date. Almost at the last minute, Sarah finds out the actor the agency sent is no more Jewish than Chris. This leads to some frantic coaching on the complexities of the Seder ceremony before Sarah’s parents and brother arrive.

The Seder meal is a side-splitting scene played with reverence and respect by the parents, with barely hidden horror of discovery by Sarah, and with some hilarious improvisation by Bob. They succeed in pulling off the charade, and family unity is preserved.

There’s also drama and poignancy in the father’s reaction to the threat of sacrilege by a member of the family.

“Beau Jest” is the first show Phillips has directed at CLT. She has directed productions at Hebron Middle School and at UU Theatre at Auburn’s Universalist-Unitarian Church.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on March 21-22 and 27-29 and at 2 p.m. on March 23 and 30. All performances will be held at the Great Falls Performing Arts Center, 30 Academy St., Auburn.

Tickets may be ordered online at www.laclt.com or by calling the box office at 783-0958.


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