Thursday, October 27, 2011

UIS Theatre to perform 'I Hate Hamlet'

Shortly after “I Hate Hamlet” opened on Broadway in 1991, the comedy became legendary for its leading man problems.

Paul Rudnick’s play, the subject of a new local production by UIS Theatre, tells the story of TV actor Andrew Rally. He gets the chance to play Hamlet in Central Park, but as the title suggests, Andrew is not wild about the role, and he’s soon tempted by a lucrative Hollywood deal.

At the urging of his agent, Andrew holds a séance in which he conjures the ghost of early 20th century actor John Barrymore. The legend of stage and screen not only appears, but proceeds to take over Andrew’s life.

Hilarity ensues as Andrew wrestles with his conscience — and swordfights Barrymore’s ghost — over his career.

On Broadway, the aging actor playing Barrymore was clashing with his cast mates to the point where he injured the actor playing Andrew in a stage swordfight. The row became front-page news in The New York Times.

Here’s hoping for better luck for UIS Theatre’s production, which opens Friday in the Studio Theatre on the campus of the University of Illinois Springfield.

The play was featured in an October 27, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

Read the article online