STORY WRITTEN BY RITA CHARLESTON
For Digital First Media
Actor and educator Aaron Kirkpatrick absolutely loves Shakespeare. Yet, ironically, here he is appearing in a show called “I Hate Hamlet,” running at Montgomery Theater now through July 12.
Most recently Kirkpatrick toured in “Much Ado About Nothing” with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s educational tour, WillPower. “In fact,” he says, “playing Shakespeare is my favorite thing to do, and ‘Hamlet’ is my favorite.”
But the job of an actor is to act, no matter what. So here is Kirkpatrick playing a role in “I Hate Hamlet.” The play was inspired by playwright Paul Rudnick’s experience living in a New York City apartment rumored to have once belonged to legendary actor John Barrymore. The play is the story of a young television actor, Andrew Rally, about to play Hamlet, living in Barrymore’s former apartment and haunted by the ghost of the stage icon.
Kirkpatrick takes the part of TV producer /director Gary Peter Lefkowitz, who has come to New York to tempt Andrew to come back to L.A. to star in a “no-brainer” series. Previously, Andrew had earned fame and fortune on a television show about doctors.
“And now Andrew faces a dilemma many actors have to face. And that is whether to star in the difficult role of Hamlet for peanuts, or go back to Hollywood where he will get easy money from a new television series.
“Andrew doesn’t have faith that he can play such big parts, so he hates Hamlet,” Kirkpatrick continues. “He’s torn and never wanted to play Hamlet in the first place. Eventually, however, Andrew gains insight about himself and becomes a person with greater self-confidence.”
Originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, Kirkpatrick moved to an ostrich farm with his family when he was a young boy. Growing up wanting to be a baseball player, one day he lent a teammate his baseball glove that wasn’t returned promptly. Since the school was holding auditions for a Neil Simon play called “Plaza Suite,”and with time on his hands, a young Kirkpatrick decided to audition.
“I was about 15 years old, and from that time on, I never looked back. I decided I would become an actor.”
He went on to get his BFA from the University of Central Florida, and his MFA from Indiana University. Between his undergraduate and graduate school experience, Kirkpatrick helped form a small theater company called ”Counting Squares.” Around the same time he married, and eventually moved to Philadelphia not long ago.
When he’s not acting, Kirkpatrick enjoys teaching others. He is a Teaching Artist at Philadelphia Young Playwrights and Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre. But he enjoys acting too much to ever think about giving it up.
“I especially enjoy acting in Philadelphia,” he says. “The theater people here are expressive and loving as a general rule. I’ve only been here for about year, but in that short period of time, the people here have been especially welcoming into their homes and into their lives.”
Montgomery Theater is located at 124 Main St. in Souderton. For tickets check www.montgomerytheater.org or call (215) 723-9984.