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PISTARCKLE THEATER PRESENTS 'I HATE HAMLET'

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March 18, 2003 – Pistarckle Theater this week embarks on its second effort at infusing Shakespeare into the minds of its audiences just for laughs.
In October 2001, the company based in Tillett Gardens presented "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)," a romp through the Bard on the boards with sound bites from every play the man ever wrote (or didn't, depending on whose theory you espouse).
Now, comes "I Hate Hamlet," Pistarckle's final production this season. It opens Thursday and runs through April 12.
This is not, repeat, not "Hamlet" in any way, shape or form other than a fractured version of the great Dane's soliloquy ("To be or not to be…").
It's a comedy by Paul Rudnick being directed by Jonn Jorgensen, the New Yorker who also directed Pistarckle's production last season of "Rumors."
The lead character, California soap opera star Andrew Rally, is a less-than-accomplished actor who is of the opinion that Shakespeare is "algebra on stage," and he doesn't mean that as a compliment. For reasons known only to Rudnick, when the TV show is canceled, Rally is offered a chance by the legendary Joe Papp to do "Hamlet" in Central Park.
As luck would have it, Rally finds himself living in a neo-Gothic New York apartment full of prop room rejects that was once inhabited by the legendary John Barrymore — and still is, it turns out, by his ghost. Sure enough, old JB materializes, so to speak, to offer acting lessons along with advice on life and love.
Barrymore plays the swashbuckling ham to the hilt, swilling champagne, sword fighting, and urging Rally to accept the role of Hamlet and fulfill his destiny as an actor. Which he does, but he doesn't.
The other four characters in the play are:
– Dierdre McDavey, Rally's rich, beautiful, self-absorbed girlfriend who resists all of his advances to get her into bed.
– Lillian Troy, Rally's agent, who — wouldn't you know it? — had a mad, passionate fling with Barrymore back when in that very apartment. In fact, it's her summoning of his spirit at a seance that prompts Barrymore to insinuate himself into Rally's life.
– Gary Peter Lefkowitz, a Hollywood "do-lunch-and-deals" friend of Rally's who arrives to make the actor a new TV offer worth big bucks.
– Felicia Dantine, a hip New York real estate agent who channels through her mother.
One reviewer had this to say about the play: "The laughs are nonstop as Andrew wrestles with his conscience, Barrymore, his sword, and the fact that he fails as Hamlet in Central Park."
In the Pistarckle production, Leigh Goldman plays Rally, Dallas Harp has the Barrymore role, Priscilla Hintz is the girlfriend, Judith Newcomb is the actor's agent, Robert Larsen is the Hollywood wheeler-dealer and Mo Stanton is the real estate agent.
Thursday's unofficial opening is Pay-as-you-can Night and also Media Night. The official opening on Friday comes with a champagne reception. The remainder of the run will be on Friday and Saturday, March 28-29; Thursday-Saturday, April 3-5, and Thursday-Saturday; April 10-12. Curtain time for all shows is 8 p.m.
Tickets are $15 in advance and $19 at the door for general admission and $10 for students. There's a $12 special for school faculty and staff with I.D. Outlets are the American Yacht Harbor office, Bumpa's on the Waterfront, the Draughting Shaft, East End Secretarial Services, Flagship, Marina Market and Tillett Gallery; charge card purchases can be arranged by calling the Pistarckle office, 775-7877, or 473-6387.

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