“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.” ~ William Shakespeare
The Perfect Night Out
I am so excited to share this post with you as Drunk Shakespeare is what the world needs right now. A good laugh and an evening to forget our troubles and the pandemic, or plague, as it was in ol’ Will’s day. And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it also makes for the perfect date night. Heck it makes for the perfect night out period. To laugh, get slightly (or alot) inebriated. and just enjoy Broadway (or technically Off-Broadway as this is.) I will say, I don’t know about anyone else, but the best dates are where there is a ton of laughing. Humor also is the best way to tell if someone is compatible or not compatible. After all if they don’t get your humor, it is going to make for a very uncomfortable and dare I say awkward relationship and that goes for romantic or friendship. Drunk Shakespeare was certainly a night I will never forget, especially as I went right before the pandemic, where we were all blissfully ignorant and yes I admit, very happily inebriated.
Admittedly, friends, I make it no secret how much I loathe Shakespeare. Like seriously LOATHE him. I could go on a Shakespeare rant, but I will spare you all. If there is any redemption to the ol’ guy, Drunk Shakespeare just might be it. HECK, it might make EVERYTHING better! I might even be tempted to go see some Drunk Dickens if they had it, then again, that might be a bit more depressing, who knows. Irregardless, I strongly believe the way to understanding Shakespeare’s sonnets from now on, must be (or not to be) with a side of shots! So friends, grab some ale if you want to be in character, or if your drink, like mine, is tequila, and read on about a quite enjoyable evening, and perhaps it will inspire you to even go see it and maybe, juts maybe it might make you appreciate Shakespeare a little bit more.
Drunk Shakespeare is not your typical show. It is suppose to be a reenactment of Macbeth, but I say suppose to be, because things quickly go off the rails to the enjoyment of everyone, unless you are a fun sponge that is! There are five “Players” who are all part of the Drunk Shakespeare Society and have gathered (all very serious…yes that is sarcasm, if you are serious you will probably get kicked out) to perform Macbeth. But one of the players has either gone mad or had the right idea (I believe in the latter) and has had at least five shots, (and will have more as the night continues) which is the exact reason why the performance quickly goes off the rails.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, this is NOT your typical theatre performance. Far from it. Located on the Fourth floor of a hotel, the theater resembles a library which makes it one of the coolest theaters I have been in. Drunk Shakespeare, has a theater in the round stage (technically this is rectangular) which is perfect for the players and patrons to interact. And oh do we interact, which also means no two shows are similar. At each performance there is a king and queen, and patrons have the option to either purchase tickets to be them, or the players will pick two people, and through out the night they can make decrees on the direction of the show, most popular, by yelling “Off with your head.” Which is Shakespeare for “Take a Shot.”
But don’t worry, the actor(s) are not drinking alone. In fact as you go into the theatre, after mingling in the lobby beforehand which happens to have a full bar and resembles a festive happy hour of sorts, they will give you a free shot so you start the night off right, if you haven’t already. They also have service throughout the show so the alcohol will be flowing throughout the ninety minute show. There is no intermission, which is fine because it really does fly, or maybe that is just because of the booze.
They say to get to the theatre about a half hour beforehand which we did. It gave us ample time to order drinks, play a little word poetry and mingle with others, some of whom urned out to be part of the cast. I sat on the side of the stage and had the perfect view of the shenanigans even before the show started. After they gave me my shot, I ordered, what I have since learned is the most basic of all alcoholic drinks, an espresso martini. (hey they are yummy and this was NO exception!) Hilarity was already ensuing as the players continued to interact with the crowd.
While they all speak Shakespeare and recite Macbeth, the show is one big modern improv, from including the audience in scenes, to at one point break dancing, and at another time serenading us with a Shakespearian song sung in a country twang. And as the alcohol was flowing, they even pulled out a large graph so that we could attempt to figure out which Act we were on. This was not any Shakespeare I had experienced, it was WAY better. It made Shakespeare enjoyable, and the cast was insanely talented. They had to be in order drink, recite Macbeth, drink some more, keep in character, drink, and yet still improv, all while you guessed it, drinking.
In what was one incredibly enjoyable moment for me, “Macduff” came up and asked me for my wallet and grabbed my laundry card. (who knew the laundromat would come in handy in the 1500’s) I was legit in stitches throughout the whole thing and it had nothing to do with the booze. The one liners flew through out the show, and we were even treated to a (albite very PG) strip tease. It truly was a night to remember and my only complaint is that the show went by way to quickly.
As I went in pre-covid times, I know the rules have changed, but one of the things I love is that most of the players have returned, which in my opinion is a testament to the show and the incredible camaraderie of the players. I recommend going on their website to double check the guidelines, and you can also purchase tickets on there. It goes without saying that you must be twenty-one to attend and if alcohol or adult humor bothers you, this may not be the show for you. But if you love to laugh, appreciate insane talent and want an alternative to the typical Broadway/Off-Broadway experience, you WANT to go see Drunk Shakespeare. At least once. AND if you are like myself, you just might want to keep going back!
Have you seen Drunk Shakespeare? Are you a Shakespeare fan? What is your favorite Shakespeare play?