OREM — Whether a person prefers the term “beau” or “boo,” some things in the dating world never change.
For example, the parental pressure on children to settle down and get married, but not just to anyone, endures.
Hale Center Theater Orem’s upcoming play, “Beau Jest,” tackles this coupling issue. A Jewish girl is dating a non-Jewish boy, but when the time comes for him to meet the family, she hires someone to play the role of the perfect Jewish boyfriend to appease her parents.
Then there’s a hitch: It turns out the guy she hires isn’t Jewish.
And the other hitch: She starts falling for him.
Director Laurie Harrop-Purser believes this engaging comedy will ring true with local audiences. Many will empathize with Sarah’s situation as she tries to navigate the meddling, er, concern from her parents and the lies that start to build up.
Jenny Latimer, who plays schoolteacher Sarah, says she loves her character because she’s so concerned for the people around her.
“I’m sure we all have worried about losing our parents’ love when some of our choices differ from the ones they wish we would make,” Latimer said. “In the end, unconditional love prevails. To me, that is the most important message in the show.”
Like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” this production aims to entertain those who aren’t overly familiar with the culture.
“The show uses the Jewish religion as a vehicle, but it’s all about families, relationships and being honest,” Harrop-Purser explained. “The audience will be able to follow it easily.”
“The show gives you a unique peek into another culture and way of life,” she said. “I think the community will find themes of honesty, love, forgiveness and acceptance really touching.”
Harrop-Purser says the cast brings out the humor inherent in the piece while making the characters real and engaging.
“The ensemble gelled quickly and has enjoyed bantering during rehearsals,” she said. “Each person brings specific touches to their roles, and the cast members have also assisted one another in making the characters more full and enjoyable.”
Harrop-Purser says several of the “Beau Jest” actors are professionals and all of them are seasoned.
“Each role is a delightful personality, and the actors are amazing in their parts,” she said. “It’s entertaining from beginning to end.”
Whether they are going steady or Facebook official, audience members should be able to enjoy the heartwarming story and its happily ever after.
Except for the meddling mothers — there’s simply no way to please them.
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What: “Beau Jest”
Where: Hale Center Theater Orem, 225 W. 400 North, Orem
When: Aug. 15-Sept. 20 except Sundays, 7:30 p.m., and 3 p.m. Saturday matinees
How much: $16-$22; children’s tickets cost $4-$6 less
Emily Edmonds is an online communications instructor for BYU-Idaho. She is the former editor of BYU's Marriott Alumni Magazine and a contributor to Family Circle magazine. She has a bachelor's in journalism and a master's in communications from BYU.