Wonderous Strange: Hold a Mirror Up to Garey Busey


David Carl stars in “Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet” at Theatre Conspiracy.

I’ve performed in one-man plays. I’ve seen a one-man Hamlet. I’ve… enjoyed?… the film work of character actor Gary Busey. I just never thought these sentences would all make sense appearing in the same paragraph.

Today’s “Wonderous Strange” spin on the Big H is the brainchild of David Carl, a New York actor who impersonates Gary Busey for a living, it seems. He’s done impersonations for commercials and parodies, and he stars in an ongoing comedy improv show called Point Break Live! in which he collects volunteers from the audience to play the Keanu Reeves part.

Hey, Keanu Reeves played Hamlet! Why can’t Gary Busey? Or Carl, embodying Busey? And so we get around to Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet which, like Point Break Live!, is just what it says on the tin. Except it also throws in “guitar sing-alongs, paper puppets bearing the real Busey’s face, New Age-style acronyms, PowerPoint presentations.” Nor does the script make any attempt to stick to Hamlet‘s plot–or even its text, since it apparently contains “a pep talk … lifted entirely from the movie Independence Day.”

I’m not sure how faithful I expected this sort of parody to be, but there would be something grotesquely compelling about a show that actually consisted of a Gary Busey impersonator just…doing Gary Busey’s Hamlet. In fact, I even sort of love the idea of a full cast of celebrity impersonators doing celebrity versions of the play.

Could someone do Kristen Wiig doing Ophelia? Who’d make a better King, the Shatner guy or the Walken dude? Keanu has already had his turn at bat, but we could give a Keanu impersonator work, opposite the world’s only Alex Winter impersonator, as Rosenbill and Guildented. Tell me you wouldn’t line up to see that!

Anyone wanna help me cast the rest of the play? Or throw celebrity impersonators at another Shakespeare play?


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