By Pat Cook
5 to 6 m, 7 w
Script: 68 pages
Wouldn't it be great fun to direct William Shakespeare's "Hamlet"? That was what Margo Daley always thought...until she is hired to do just that by the Peaceful Glen Memorial Players in their theater, a renovated funeral home. They DO have a couple of conditions, however. Margo has to make the play a melodrama, so the audience will know when to throw the popcorn. And they can't be too loud because the lady who lives under the theater bangs her cane on the stage. Oh, and Margo has to insert the sponsors' names into the play and, by the way, has to take place in the Old West. "And make sure the actors talk real loud because of all the noise the audience makes sucking their fingers," states one of the council members, an occupational hazard brought about by them selling barbecue before the show. All kinds of eccentric characters come out of the woodwork in this riotous tribute to life on the community theater stage. Even the pizza delivery boy is given parts - several since Margo only has four actors to portray the five-act tragedy. Fast lines and even faster exits punctuate this farce as Margo and her troupe of misguided actors find out what it's like when they begin "Barbecuing Hamlet."
"We LOVE Pat Cook plays. We chose 'Barbecuing Hamlet' and 'The Taming of Judge Roy Bean' for two summer camp productions back to back partly because we had a fabulous Western set that we used for both productions. We love Pat Cook, his plays are challenging...comedy is HARD! The students learn character development, physicality, timing, and all the other aspects you need to learn to fully present a play. There are lots of opportunities in this show for sight gags, audience participation and really, just a very good time for both the cast and the audience. We had two full houses for our show and are now working on Judge Roy Bean. I love how easy Eldridge makes things, easy to get scripts, rights and very affordable for a small non-profit such as ourselves. Service is always terrific and the shows are always great." K.R., Spindrift School of Performing Arts, Pacifica, CA
"The first time our cast read through this play we could hardly manage it because everyone was laughing so hard. It just got funnier and funnier. The sets, costumes, props were all so easy. There was a lot of dialogue for people to learn but each one of the characters was interesting and funny in their own way. Some plays have the main characters who are important, but this one highlighted everyone. Some of the comments we had from our audience were, "I really need to go home. My face is hurting from laughing so hard." "I laughed so hard for so long I used up almost a whole package of tissues." "I laughed so much from the start to the finish I almost had an accident." Even now almost two weeks later, I think back over the play and can't help from laughing. Cast and audience members are pleading with me to do another of Pat Cook's. It was truly a fabulous time that was had by all!!!" -- C.A., Director, Johnston Heights Church, Surrey, British Columbia

"It was a hit. My students loved performing it and our audience grew each night. What a success!" --B.P. Director, Chippewa Drama Dept., Doylestown, OH

"This is a wonderful play – the first that I have ever done that was embraced by 100% of the students. What is amazing is that their performance of Cook’s 'Titanic, Tragedy and Trial' last November was also excellent. I didn’t make the connection with the author until after I had ordered 'Barbecuing Hamlet.' Pat Cook is a marvel!"
J.C. (Director)
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“Our production went very well and received much appreciation from the audience! This was our third production at our church and our third Pat Cook production. We had much success with the other two that we decided to give this one a try also because we enjoyed the story line." -- C.S., Director, LCUMC Arts Council, Galena, OH

"It's a great show to do for high school. Sets were minimal and costuming was easy. Also, there is some flexibility in casting. My students really loved doing it and I never got tired watching it." --G.A., Prairie View HS, Lacygne, KS

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