Alcohol, Shakespeare and more alcohol. The Drunk Shakespeare Society is putting on a limited engagement of “Drunk Shakespeare” at Quinn’s Bar, where tickets are available until June 14. The group of Shakespeare fanatics has become understood as “a drinking club with a Shakespeare problem.”
Audiences are immediately immersed in the show when they walk upstairs to the second floor of Quinn’s Bar. A shrine of Shakespeare glimmers in lights at the entrance and is surrounded by his works, some of which can be found on each bar table.
When arriving, audience members are invited to choose any table, where they can immediately open up a tab to order food and of course, alcohol. For those that get hungry or thirsty during the show, they can write their order on a card, display it on the centerpiece, and a waitress will collect their order card and bring their food immediately, all without making a sound as to not distract from the performance.
At the tables, all of the performers are drinking socially and conversing with the audiences, before, during, and after the performance. Each performer is very personable, making the audience feel comfortable in the bar setting of the new and innovative piece of theatre.
The background music gives the room a 1920s feel with the Postmodern Jukebox playlist (postmodernjukebox.com).
The show’s beginning is signaled by a bell, which is then put into the power of the King and Queen later in the show. The master of ceremonies introduces the show, thanks the audience for coming and gets right into the drinking portion of the evening.
The drinking is legally maintained by a rotating schedule for the performers. Each night, a different cast member is the chosen performer who drinks more than the social limit, which begins with a tray of five shots.
An audience member is invited to take the first shot with the performer, proving that there is actually alcohol filled to the brim of each glass. The performer and audience member take a shot, leaving the performer with three more before the show begins. More drinks to come, at the will and power of the royals.
The King and Queen are then announced, but if tickets haven’t been previously bought for the prestigious position, there is a live bid. The King and Queen are gifted with a regal throne, crowns, a bottle of Moet and Chandon, caviar, handmade chocolates and the authoritative power of the “Off with his head” or “Pardon the Fool” commands. “Off with his head” is the popular choice, requiring the drunk performer to down more drinks.
The bids begin at $10 for the royal positions and can quickly multiply to $100 or more, all for an exclusive offer that is valued at $500.
The auction is a very social and interactive experience that puts the audience right into the heart of the show. Then the couple drinks, laughs and executes the unprecedented tasks that help the “Drunk Shakespeare” show continue.
Audiences contribute to the show in every way, and in the most hilarious ways. From smearing ketchup on an actor’s face to becoming the forest by holding royal pine car fresheners, the audience is a vital part of the show.
The audience participation did not compare to the absurdities of the performers though, who ate chicken off of each other’s faces, transitioned into Spanish soap opera mode and then performed Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” in a well-rehearsed dance break.
“I really enjoyed making Whit do the Riverdance,” said Lindsey Hope Pearlman, the drunken performer of the night. Pearlman explained that most of the show is improvisation, but each night they figure out what Shakespearean play they will focus on for their centerpiece.
Not only will the show be unforgettable, it may even be unmemorable, given the alcohol. “Drunk Shakespeare” is an experience like none other that is fun for all ages, but best for the 21+ Shakespeare fans who can understand the text and drink endlessly.
Pearlman concluded, “I hope all of Pace students can come to the show!”
For more information and ticket information, please visit www.drunkshakespeare.com.