Summer theatre is a treat, much like other summertime treats…snow cones, ice cream, and gelatos.
Often summer theatre is light, like everything else during the summer
“I Hate Hamlet” is a perfect summertime play, agrees Stage Company Director Shelly Dunn.
“This is a comedy that pokes fun at the theatre and at actors,” explained. “It is a great production for summertime theatre.”
“This story really gives a peek behind the curtain,” continued Dunn. “It gives the glimpse some insight into the world of theatre…the things that give us butterflies before every performance.”
This production is also light in the fact that it does not involve a large cast.
“I think one of the things that makes this play so delightful are references to things that happened before the Year 2000, but things that many of us remember, like references to Martha Stewart, and phone rates dropping after 9 p.m. Those are all things a lot of us remember,” laughed Dunn.
This dramatic comedy was written in 1991 by Paul Rudnick, and it basically takes place in John Barrymore’s New York City apartment. This was actually Rudnick’s home at the time, and the play follows the successful television actor Andrew Rally as he struggles with taking on an actor’s dream role – that of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Despite the fact that he is preparing for the role of a lifetime, he must also deal with his real life problems, sometimes comedic. For instance, he is dealing with a girlfriend who is insisting upon chastity, and he is also playing host to the ghost of John Barrymore, who has appeared to him as Hamlet. The ghost’s intention is to convince Rally that he simply must play this important theatrical role. And the plot thickens when Rally is offered a highly lucrative Hollywood role. Should he stay true to Shakespeare, or should he choose the more lucrative television role, which would win him legions of fans?
The play was originally produced on Broadway in the Walter Kerr Theatre, opening in April, 1991. The lead role in the opening production was played by Evan Handler, and included a cast of only three women and three men. The Stage Company cast for the production includes Stephanie Crawford as Felicia Dantine; Glen Deaton as Andrew Rally; Vanessa Todd as Dierdre McDavey; Amy Pfeffer as Lillian Troy; JD Dunn as John Barrymore; and Hardin Thom as Gary Peter Lefkowitz.
The Stage Company will be performing “I Hate Hamlet” at Poplar Bluff’s Historic Rodgers Theatre on June 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m.; June 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m., and on June 21 at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults; $5 for children 12 and under.
Photos by David Carroll