Booze and the Bard's Tale

Booze and the Bard's Tale

Earlier this week, I saw DRUNK SHAKESPEARE at Quinn’s Bar and Grill. I know that sentence probably needs further explanation, so here we go. A cast of actors, known as The Drunk Shakespeare Society, which describes themselves as a “drinking club with a Shakespeare problem,” invites interested parties to join them for a meeting in their society lounge. The evening begins with one actor getting pretty drunk before attempting to lead the cast through a Shakespeare story in 60 minutes. Sounds pretty intriguing, right? So, on a rainy Tuesday, I headed to Midtown to check it out. The play takes place on the second floor of the bar—made to resemble a stately study, complete with bookshelves full of leather-bound titles and framed artwork hanging from the walls. The music that played, a mix of ragtime versions of contemporary hits (think a swing cover of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”), added a quirky touch. Before the performance began, the enthusiastic actors mingled with the audience. And soon we learned that Macbeth would be the night’s featured Shakespearean masterpiece. I’ve read Macbeth, but I have to say I found The Drunk Shakespeare Society’s version much more entertaining. Although the trained actors delivered the often difficult Shakespearean vernacular flawlessly, the addition of choreographed dance numbers, fight scenes with Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” playing in the background, raunchy language, and pauses in the story for “drunk checks,” “points of order,” audience participation and hilarious explanations of events, makes a traditional telling of the tale seem pretty boring. The cast rotates on a regular basis—so the actors aren’t plastered seven days a week, in case you were wondering—and the Shakespeare play changes every few weeks. For more, click here.

Caption: The cast with two audience members.

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