(Posted Nov. 6, 2017)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
After a couple of years of serious material, the thespians at London High School have made the switch to seriously funny.
On Nov. 16-18, they are taking audiences on the farcical romp that is Pat Cook’s “Barbecuing Hamlet.”
“My daughter saw the show in Medina, thought it was funny and said we should do it here at London,” said director Scott Blanton, adding he was previously unfamiliar with the play’s author. “It turns out Pat Cook is prolific with amateur theater. I’m excited to find a new playwright.”
As for “Barbecuing Hamlet?” Well, it’s an amateur theater piece about amateur theater.
The Peaceful Glen Memorial Players, whose theater is a renovated funeral home, hire Margo Daley (played by Ruth Peart) to direct their production of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”
Margo is thrilled at the opportunity until the arts council, led by Tamara Logan (played by Sarah George), informs her of their conditions. Among them: make it a melodrama so the audience knows when to throw the popcorn, insert sponsors’ names into the play, and set the whole thing in the Old West. Oh, and the actors need to talk loudly because the audience will be sucking their fingers after eating pre-show barbecue.
Margo tries to cobble together a cast, only managing to land four reluctant actors–one of them being her boyfriend (played by Hobbes Treynor)–to portray all of the characters in the five-act tragedy. The result: chaos and eccentricity on parade.
Blanton and his cast are loving it.
“We’re having a great time,” he said.
Despite losing several veteran actors to graduation, turnout for tryouts this year was large enough that Blanton is considering a play with more parts for next fall’s production. Nine of the 14 actors in “Barbecuing Hamlet” are new to the stage.
“It’s been a fun cast to work with,” he said.
Show times are 7 p.m. each night. In a nod to the play, Friday night includes a dinner theater option featuring a catered meal by Wilson Family BBQ. Dinner theater tickets are $15 and must be purchased by Nov. 10. The meal starts at 6 p.m. followed by the show at 7.
Tickets for Thursday, Saturday and show-only on Friday are $6 and can be purchased in advance or at the door.
Advanced sales are set for 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 7-8 in the high school commons. Tickets also can be purchased from cast members.
Senior citizens are invited to attend the Nov. 15 dress rehearsal at no charge. Free refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m. followed by the show at 7 p.m.
All performances will take place in London High School’s Joyce Hildebrand Auditorium.