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‘I Hate Hamlet’ delivers new perspective and fun

Scripps Ranch Theatre presents a fun and funny production of “I Hate Hamlet,” running May 27-June 12. (photo by Ken Jacques)

‘I Hate Hamlet’ delivers new perspective and fun

By Ashley Shah

“I  Hate Hamlet,” Scripps Ranch Theatre’s last performance of the 2022 season, will have its opening night on May 27. 

“‘I Hate Hamlet’ is a very, very funny play. A lot of people see it as a hero’s journey,” director Phil Johnson said.

There are six characters in this production. 

Andrew Rally, played by Alex Guzman, is the main character. 

“Rally is a TV star on a medical show in Los Angeles. However, the series is failing. He accepts the role as a Broadway actor, playing ‘Hamlet’ in New York,” Johnson said. “When he gets to New York, he has a lot of doubts about playing the role, but everyone around him keeps telling him to do it. In the middle of his seance, he yells ‘I Hate Hamlet,’ which summons the ghost of John Barrymore, the famous Shakespearean actor who played Hamlet.”

The ghost of John Barrymore, played by John DiCarlo, ensures that Rally learns the role of Hamlet. 

“Rally is living in Barrymore’s apartment, and the ghost of Barrymore doesn’t leave until he sees that Rally has seen the role through,” Johnson said. 

Rally’s girlfriend, Deirdre McDavey, played by Lynnia Shanley, comes with Rally to New York. 

“The girlfriend is very theatrical and funny. She loves Shakespeare, so she really encourages Rally to take and stay with the role of Hamlet,” Johnson said. 

Other characters include Rally’s producer from Los Angeles, a real estate agent and a friend. 

This production is set in 1989. 

“I think because the ’80s were such a time of excess in so many ways, that it really fits into this play, which is full of ridiculous theatrical types,” Johnson said. 

“I Hate Hamlet” was cast more than two years ago, right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

“We did cast for the play, but we never got to rehearse. About two to three months ago, we changed some of the casting,” Johnson said. 

Now that the play is being rehearsed, Johnson has been able to look at the play in a different way.

“The play was always very comedic to me, but now that I rehearse it, I find it inspiring as well. It comes to a small, but life changing truth that little experiences can show you your true path in life,” Johnson said. “Now that we’ve rehearsed it, I’ve gotten to see the main character’s journey, and how he’s found something more important than what he was doing before.”

Rehearsals started in late April. 

“The rehearsals are great, and the actors are really picking up the play. I have a feeling we should be done rehearsing way before the play’s opening night because of how quickly everything is coming together,” Johnson said. 

“I always feel that comedy has a special ability in theater. It’s been a difficult last few years, and I think comedy will show people a new way of looking at things,” Johnson said. 

The production of “I Hate Hamlet” will run for three weeks, starting May 27 and ending June 12. 

To purchase tickets, visit http://scrippsranchtheatre.org/tickets or contact the box office at (858) 395-0573.