A comedy about a Los Angeles television actor who is contemplating a move to New York City to take on the role of Hamlet will be presented over the next two weekends when the Cape Ann Shakespeare Troupe produces "I Hate Hamlet."
The play by Paul Rudnick, set in 1991, centers on the character of TV actor Andrew Rally, who has been offered the role of Hamlet as part of New York City's Shakespeare in the Park at Central Park. As he contemplates the offer on a visit to the city, a real estate agent finds him an apartment that was once occupied by John Barrymore (1882-1942), the 20th century's most celebrated Hamlet.
The presentation opens Friday and continues Saturday and Sunday, then the following weekend.
"It's a comedy which has some nice dramatic moments in it," said Joe Stiliano, a troupe spokesman and the show's producer.
"The character is sort of excited at the thought of this Shakespeare role until he realizes that he really can't do it," explained Stiliano. "But he's urged on by his girlfriend, who is chaste even though she lives in modern society, and who wants to remain so until she is married, which adds something to the plot."
The actor takes the apartment and his girlfriend decides to have a seance to summon the late Barrymore, of the acting dynasty.
"Between his girlfriend and the ghost, he's convinced to actually do the role," Stiliano said. "And the story takes off. It's a story not only about doing Hamlet, but about having courage and faith in yourself, and following through with something even in the face of disaster."
The local cast features David McCaleb, Craig Owen, Beth Bevins, Evie Gariepy, Beebe Nelson, and Nick Neyeloff.
The play is directed by Ray Jenness, while the stage manager is Veronica Bland, recipient of Cape Ann Shakespeare Troupe's 2012 $500 scholarship award.
Stiliano shared an anecdote related to the Barrymore dynasty. When he was 18, his first role in a professional production outside of New York starred Diana Barrymore, the daughter of John Barrymore.
"She was playing Blanche in 'A Streetcar Named Desire,' and I played the newsboy," recalled Stiliano. "She tried to seduce the newsboy. I was thrilled, and every night I'd go out and feel like a million bucks."
Gail McCarthy may be contacted at 978-283-7000 x3445 or email@example.com.
If you go
What: "I Hate Hamlet," a comedy.
Who: Cape Ann Shakespeare Troup.e
When: Friday and Saturday, and June 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m.; this Sunday and June 3 at 3 p.m.
Where: Cape Ann Theater (The Annie) at One Washington St. (corner of Main Street) in Gloucester.
How much: At the door, $15; students of any age, $10; and youth under 19, $5. Or tickets may be reserved at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Details: Visit at capeannshakespearetroupe.blogspot.com and Facebook.