When Andrew Rally, an out-of-work soap opera star, has trouble getting into his upcoming role as Hamlet, he couldn’t ask for a better tutor than the ghost of John Barrymore, often called the greatest Hamlet ever.

The action and the laughs mount quickly in Community Little Theatre’s production of “I Hate Hamlet” scheduled for June 3-12. Complications ensue with the entrance of Andrew’s deal-making friend from Los Angeles, spouting the laid-back hype of the coast and offering Andrew a fabulous new TV deal worth millions of dollars. Andrew wrestles with his conscience, Barrymore, his sword, and the fact that he’s likely to fail as Hamlet in Central Park.

“It’s not entirely a farce. There are some dramatic moments,” said Linda Britt, who is directing this production.

Scott Powers plays Andrew, who rents an apartment that once belonged to Barrymore, who is played by Stan Spilecki. The problem: Andrew hates Shakespeare. To make matters worse, Barrymore’s ghost still haunts his old place and he makes it his mission to help Andrew fulfill his “actor’s destiny.”

Andrew’s virginal girlfriend, Deirdre McDavey, is played by Liz Rollins, and his New York agent, Lillian Troy, who once had an affair with Barrymore, is played by Muriel Kenderdine.

In a scene where Troy is reunited with the ghostly Barrymore, the great actor asks her for a dance.

“I no longer dance, I’m old,” she says.

“Well, I’m dead,” he replies.

Also in the care are an over-the-top Hollywood producer, Gary Peter Lefkowitz, played by Roger Philippon, and his seance-conducting real estate agent, Felicia Dantine, played by CarlaRose Ricciuti.

“I Hate Hamlet” was written by Paul Rudnick. It had a modest Broadway run and has a particularly interesting place in actors’ lore. It seems that noted actor Nicol Williamson had the original Barrymore part, and like Barrymore, Williamson was known for a bit of tippling. On occasions when he had too much pre-show fortification, the swordfight scenes with the actor playing Andrew became a bit too realistic. One night, Williamson inflicted an all-too-real strike on the actor, who left in the middle of the play and never came back.

Britt said CLT’s “I Hate Hamlet” also has its swordfight scenes between Powers and Spilecki. The two have been taking some ribbing about the Broadway story, but Britt said it’s unlikely that the CLT characters will repeat the now-famous and ill-fated scene.

John Jenkins, noted martial arts instructor, physical trainer and former mayor of Lewiston, is coaching Powers and Spilecki in the swordplay.

“I have the most amazing set,” Britt said. “Bill Hamilton (veteran CLT set designer) has outdone himself.”

She noted that the Barrymore apartment is gloriously represented with rich wood paneling, a fireplace and lavish furnishings.

“Of course, it has all been a very collaborative effort,” Britt said.


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