Shakespeare has played a big part in my life; it has been difficult to avoid the Bard (and believe me I’ve tried), as I studied English literature up to my bachelors. It’s not that I particularly dislike Shakespeare, I just prefer modern and contemporary literature. After I graduated, I put my Shakespearean anthology away as I believed that I was finished with that part of my life.
However, on a recent trip to NYC I saw that there was a troupe called Drunk Shakespeare performing off Broadway. The tickets were cheap, so I decided to check it out. The troupe were energetic and they painted a refreshingly modern gloss over Macbeth. It was a very lighthearted performance with topical jokes – I’m sure that a lot of them passed over my head.
Despite drinking copious amounts of alcohol, the actors still performed really well. Their interactions with the audience were quick and witty and they maintained a jovial, raucous atmosphere during the evening. However, they were more than comedians as they performed Shakespeare with so much passion, and their interpretation competed with the more serious plays that I have seen. In particular, Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy was outstanding, and it made my hair stand on end.
Perhaps the highlight was the location; it was a really small stage, which provided a very intimate atmosphere to the show. The walls were lined with shelves filled with beautiful books which made it look like an old fashioned library. The audience basically sat on the stage and they were included in many of the scenes. They did exactly what they claimed to do and got drunk whilst performing Shakespeare – it was a far cry from my days studying it in a dusty library.