It's infrequent that the title of a play overtly insults a classic, but I Hate Hamlet does exactly that.
The comedy, written by Paul Rudnick, will be presented by Homemade Theater (HMT), a nonprofit theater company in residence at the Spa Little Theater in the Saratoga Spa State Park.
The play zeroes in on the life of Los Angeles soap opera star Andrew Rally, who has arrived in New York City to play the role of a lifetime " Hamlet. Unfortunately he hates the play, but just happens to have rented the apartment of the late, great John Barrymore. The swashbuckler's ghost takes Andrew on as a reluctant protEgE and coaches him on Shakespeare, swordplay and romance.
A recent New York Times review called the play "fast, funny ... unapologetically silly ... hilarious ..."
Christine MacLellan, HMT's associate manager, said while the play isn't slapstick comedy, it's certain to bring on chuckles.
"It's not one of those broad, physical, door-slamming farces, but it is a comedy," said MacLellan. "This hot shot television star thinks he knows it all, but then it's a case of the young learning from the more seasoned."
The interaction between young Andrew and the ghost of John Barrymore sets up the dynamics for juxtaposing acting styles that have changed greatly over the years.
"Today people are really method actors, but in the old school things were very over-the-top," said MacLellan. "Everything was on a large scale, but there's something to learn from that.
The ensemble cast of just six ranges in age from the 30s to the 50s in the production. The show itself is designed for teens and older.
"There is a bit of romantic interaction between Andrew and his girlfriend as they try to figure out their relationship that may be over the heads of younger kids," said MacLellan. Director Stephen Pelletier said he's rarely worked with such a committed cast on any production.