By: Alyssa de Hoop
I had no idea what to expect when I first entered the small, unique Drunk Shakespearetheatre, located in The Lounge on the 4th Floor of 300 W 43rd St., New York. All I knew was that both the critic and audience reviews were stellar. Following the performance I attended on Thursday, November 19th, I had to agree.
Drunk Shakespeare is a high-energy, hilarious, interactive, crude and drunken theatrical performance that immerses you from the second you step foot into The Lounge to the moment you leave. All you need to bring is a rough understanding of Shakespeare’s popular plays, a willingness to be absorbed into the action, a valid ID to show you are 21 years of age or older, a credit card to start a tab at the bar (a must so you don’t miss out on the fun while in need of snacks or more drinks) and possibly a cell phone to send videos or snap chats to soon-to-be jealous friends (as cell phones and social media sharing during the performance is highly encouraged).
As if you’re entering into the secret Drunk Shakespeare Society, you need no ticket and only say your name at the front door. To immediately set the tone, you enter into a small, library-like room and are greeted promptly with a complimentary shot of alcohol. Once the performance starts, the cast of five begin by announcing the play to be performed that night (which was Macbeth the night I attended) and give a short overview of the plot to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
Throughout the play, the five actors utilize stellar acting abilities, improv skills and high spirits necessary to keep the audience engaged and laughing the entire performance through. For the performance on November 19th, the actors included small skits in between scenes of “icing” fellow actors (providing them with a Smirnoff Ice cooler which they must chug immediately), making Kings-cup-like rules or dares to both the audience and performers, sitting on audience members laps, utilizing the audience cellphone lamps to set the tone of Lady Macbeth’s “Out, damned spot” monologue, and even calling an audience members significant others cell phone and leaving a probably very confusing message (to her) on her voicemail. Anything goes and I can imagine that each night is different from the next forDrunk Shakespeare.
I would suggest Drunk Shakespeare to anyone visiting New York looking for a night of laughter, drinks and over-the-top theatrical fun. As you never know what play to expect each night or how they will even execute the performance, I plan on attending each time I visit New York as I look forward to seeing new plays, new roles and new antics from the amazing Drunk Shakespeare cast.
Click here for Drunk Shakespeare tickets and information.
S.I.A IS ARTISTIC COMPANY IN RESIDENCE AT CENTRAL TORONTO ACADEMY. © SHAKESPEARE IN ACTION 2015. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.