I Hate Hamlet

A Comedy by
Paul Rudnick

Performed
July 27-30 and August 2-6, 2005
at
The Boal Barn Playhouse

Production Staff

DirectorValerie Gehn
Scenic DesignerJohn Vickers-Jones
Lighting DesignerJason Zanitsch
Costume DesignerAbby Minor
Fight ChoreographerJason Zanitsch
Technical DirectorAlfred Gehn
Stage ManagerMaggie Lee

About the Show

Program Cover
I Hate Hamlet
2005

In the 1920’s, John Barrymore reached the acme of his acting career in two Shakespearean productions, an electrifying Richard III and a famous Hamlet. (His only other Shakespeare role was as Mercutio in a film version of Romeo and Juliet opposite Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer as the star-crossed lovers). Barrymore had an affinity with the melancholy Dane. Margot Peters writes in her biography of the Barrymores (John, Lionel and Ethel) “one could argue that Laurence Olivier acted Hamlet, Barrymore was Hamlet.” Critic John Mason Brown found Barrymore to be “the embodiment of the Dane.” Acting styles and directorial concepts have changed since Barrymore’s Hamlet. but there is little doubt that his Freudian interpretation influenced the future Hamlets of John Gielgud, Leslie Howard, Laurence Olivier, and Maurice Evans. When Barrymore’s production closed in 1923 (it later took to the road and to London) it had broken Edwin Booth’s record 100 performances by one performer. Barrymore’s record was broken fourteen years later by Gielgud’s 132 performances. Barrymore’s production could have run longer, but he got easily bored by long runs. There is little doubt that had he had more discipline and more dedication to his craft, he would have been the finest actor of his time. As it was, he dissipated his talent. In 1940, he returned to Broadway in the witless comedy My Dear Children after an eighteen-year absence. In My Dear Children, he played an aging, much married Shakespearean ham (Barrymore was married four times), a not-to-subtle caricature of Barrymore himself. He died two years later at the age of 60.

Richard B. Gidez

(in order of appearance)
Felicia DantineSusanna Ritti
Andrew RallyJason Zanitsch
Deidre McDaveyCaitlin Osborne
Lillian TroyBonny Farmer
John BarrymoreBob Lillie
Gary Peter LefkowitzPatrick Brannen
Produced by Special Arrangement with
Dramatists Play Service
440 Park Avenue South, New York, New York 10016