Madkap Productions’ Beau Jest, by James Sherman, ended a lucrative run at Skokie Theatre on February 21st and I was delighted to be part of the journey as the Assistant Director. This was my second time working with Madkap -- last year I had the same role for Same Time, Next Year. I admire the work ethic and dedication the company has to successfully running the Skokie Theatre and building a theatrical community.
Beau Jest was the first non-musical that managed to sell out in Madkap’s Skokie home. This was the result of building an audience for the past 2 and a half years and successfully marketing to a new audience. James Sherman’s play is the story of Sarah’s relentless pursuit of approval from her Jewish parents, so much so that she hires an escort to act as her new, Jewish boyfriend. The escort, of course, turns out to not be Jewish (when she specifically asked for a Jew!) and hilarity ensues. It’s formulaic, it’s heartwarming, and it’s a pleasant night at the theatre. You leave the theatre having laughed and reminisced about your own family.
Having worked with the Stephen Genovese last year allowed me to communicate and assist without having to navigate a new working relationship. Our discussions about the material and process before and after the rehearsals were invaluable to the process. Directing is a lonely profession and it is pivotal that we speak to each other about our processes and concerns. Much of what we do is depended on interpreting an actor’s thoughts and actions while managing our own expectations. It can be tough andit’s nice to have someone in the room who understands this.
Beau Jest was a beautiful collaboration between all the artists involved and audiences roared with laughter. There isn’t much more you can ask for. I’m looking forward to continuing my relationship with Madkap Productions and Skokie Theatre.