When the star in a London production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet became ill, no one was available to replace him except an American actor. He was known in the production by his poor acting ability as opposed to how he bragged about himself, but they had no choice and decided to use him as an understudy.
Sure enough, his poor acting stirred up groans among the discerning British audience, but the American actor, oblivious to the groans, went ahead.
Then came the famous soliloquy: “To be or not to be …” Generations of Hamlet actors had put a lot of thought into this part, and had captured the heart of audience. As it was, the British audience, who usually pride themselves as ladies and gentlemen, could no longer stand it, and everyone cried, “You stink!”, “Go home!”, “Give me my money back!”, filling the whole theater with booing. At this point, the American actor stopped and bellowed: “Hey, don’t blame me. I didn’t write this junk!”
The egotistical American actor was not aware that the booing was because of his acting. He thought that it was aimed at the soliloquy itself. He had never read a single Shakespearean play, so his Hamlet script was his first encounter with this play. Naturally, he hadn’t understood what the soliloquy meant, and he just read it as it was written. Faced with the booing from the audience, he shouted back at them, “You have a right to criticize this soliloquy which doesn’t make any sense. But I didn’t write this junk. I’m just saying what is written in the script. “, or words to that effect, meaning the one to blame was Shakespeare the writer, not him.