Current Reno Weather
Mar 11, 2001 - Proscenium Players "I Hate Hamlet" is a Spirited Send Up
By Jack Neal
Several star turns should give the Proscenium Players' "I Hate Hamlet" several leases on life - or afterlife - that should fill the Brewery Arts Center in Carson City, where the Paul Rudnick comedy is playing, each and every Friday and Saturday night through March 24.
The six-character play opened Friday (3/9/2001) and is so beautifully cast with not-so-old pros who seem to know exactly what they're doing at all given moments, it raises the level of very good community theater to thoroughly acceptable professional theater.
"I Hate Hamlet" is about a successful television actor, Andrew Rally (James Godwin), who moves into a gothic New York apartment and former digs of famed "Hamlet" actor and movie star John Barrymore. Or so he thinks. Actually Barrymore's ghost (John Gillie) still inhabits the place, but is invisible to Andrew's proudly and stubbornly virginal girl friend Deirdre McDavey (Christiana Frank). Barrymore also escapes the view of the pushy, over-the-top finder of haunted properties, Felicia Dantine (Michon Deem), who gets Andrew into his musty, Hamlet-in-waiting surroundings. "Does it have a moat?" Andrew blurts out to Deirdre upon his first viewing of his new habitat.
On one level, "I Hate Hamlet" is a reworking of Woody Allen's "Play It Again Sam," in which the shade of Humphrey Bogart gives lessons in Seduction 101 to a young fan. The second level is more serious, hence funnier. Andrew's agent, Lillian Troy (Misty Wycoff), wants him to do "Hamlet" for free in Central Park. But Andrew is terrified of Shakespeare. So is his producer, Gary Peter Lefkowitz, maniacally and hilariously played by Jason Macy. To this bicostal vulgarian, money is life's report card, not high art. To Gary, for Andrew to seek a career in New York means a future of Chekhov, folding chairs and too much lost cash.
Barrymore knows better. Alternately bawdy, boozy and poignant, The Great Profile convinces Andrew to opt for the melancholy Dane. In the process he dispenses some wise shop talk. Andrew's nasal mehod acting, for example, is succinctly put down: "We mustn't mistake truth for asthma," Barrymore sniffs.
And so Rudnick's "I Hate Hamlet" goes.
Director Karen Chandler-Gillie has taken these six marvelous hams, all actors are spirited players (no pun intended) who flesh out their roles with relish, and molded them into a very special and sensitive ensemble that pours forth wit and humor in the best sense of theatrical comedy. Godwin is a sensational Andrew. John Gillie is a suave and believable Barrymore. Deem is a delightful Felicia. Wycoff is a wholly empathetic and dramatic Lillian. Frank is a simply devine Deirdre. And last, but clearly not least - and as has been more than hinted at before, Macy is a knock-out Gary.
Who could ask for anything more?
Yet more is what this "I Hate Hamlet" gives in more ways than in just shrewd direction, quick pacing and droll performances. John Nikakis's set is a near replica of Norman Maine's star bungalow from Judy Garland's 1954 "A Star Is Born." It's a great set. Great also are Nikakis's lighting and sounds. The fight choreography designed by Curtis Deem, John Gillie and Sean Kierman is firstrate. As are the costumes designed by almost everyone, which are just right for every occasion.
"I Hate Hamlet" has a pleasant mix of uncertain new talent and seasoned old pros, plus lots of laughs. This current Carson City Prosecenium Players' production doesn't just play well, it takes flight and soars.
"I Hate Hamlet" can be seen at the Brewery Arts Center, 449 West King Street, Carson City, Nevada, Friday and Saturday nights through March 24. For information call 775-883-1976.
|Are you interested in submitting event information on this site, or would you like your event reviewed? If so click here to contact a member of our staff or click here to submit event information yourself.