MELANIE MINTY: ‘I Hate Hamlet’ brings truth, laughter to White Rock

WHITE ROCK — Real theatre people love Shakespeare, right? Evidence is all around us: the successful Bard on the Beach, Bard in the Valley and Beach House Theatre. And every serious actor longs to tackle a Shakespearean role. Well, maybe.

White Rock Players’ final show of the company’s 70th (!) season is I Hate Hamlet. Young TV actor Andrew Rally is given the opportunity to play Hamlet in a New York non-profit production in the park. He is not thrilled because, you see, he hates Hamlet. Oops. Too bad, because his real estate has found him the perfect New York apartment, once inhabited by the legendary John Barrymore, who, of course, did play Hamlet.

I Hate Hamlet is an absolutely delightful comedy that real theatre people will love. Dale Kelly directs this amusing tale of actors and the people who motivate them. There is both truth and laughter. The cast is brilliant, every one: Colleen Byberg as the wacky real estate agent, Matt Loop as Andrew Rally, Rebekah MacEwan as Andrew’s interesting girlfriend, Sheila Keating as Andrew’s agent, John Cousins as Barrymore; and Pat McDermott as a TV producer.

Set design by Leigh Burton and costumes by Pat McClean enhance the entire play, and some excellent lighting design by Guy Paterson and sound design by Colleen Bignell are professionally perfect. Lots of names here. These are real theatre people working in community theatre — and just for the love of theatre, as there is no paycheque. I Hate Hamlet runs to June 20; phone 604-536-7535 for tickets and info.

White Rock Players has a great 71st season planned, with Death of a Salesman, Boeing Boeing, Private Lives and The Odd Couple (both male and female versions) among the popular picks. The club has a goal of selling 150 season tickets (at a discount price) during the run of I Hate Hamlet. This should appeal to all real theatre people.

As for its annual pantomime, WRPC is remounting the ever popular Cinderella.

"We need actors, singers, dancers, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, gramas, grampas and kids down to eight," says stage manager Gord Mantle.

Auditions are June 23 from 7 to 9 p.m. and June 28 from 1 to 5. Bring a song and a joke to the playhouse on Johnston Road. For more information, email Gord at There will be 23 performances from Dec. 4 to Jan. 2. Try it out and discover the real theatre person inside of you.

So, what is the appeal of being an actor, director or just generally a “theatre person”? Might just be something that is born inside of us, or maybe it is early exposure and education. The great concept of participating in community theatre is that anyone can do it – and here I speak from personal experience – and mostly all that is required is dedication and some basic training.

And aren’t we lucky in this area. Our public schools have drama programs, and there are also several outside-of-school programs for kids. Stagecoach Theatre Arts School has only recently come into our area, but it comes from a globally established program. Geared for kids aged four to 18, the program covers basic drama, dance and singing. Founded in 1988 with three schools in Surrey, England, Stagecoach now has a school here in Surrey, B.C., with classes at Grace Point Community Church, 3487 King George Blvd.

Part of taking classes in the performing arts is getting the chance to perform. It amazes me how many actors with tons of experience still get stage fright. Practice, training, rehearsals and actual performance experience helps even the shyest of all to get on stage without fainting.

Students with Stagecoach in Langley will have the chance to perform on Sunday, June 14. Suess the Musical will be performed by the morning program students (aged four to 15 years) at 10:30 a.m. For this morning show only, there is an added attraction, Singularity, performed by students aged 14 to 18. The afternoon program production is at 3 p.m. Both shows at Chief Sepass Theatre, 9096 Trattle St., Fort Langley (behind Langley Fine Arts School). Tickets are $10, call 778-240-5915 to book.

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