NPR

Boozing With The Bard: How The Masses Find Common Ground With Shakespeare

From a theater company where audiences drink along with the actors to a book of cocktails inspired by his plays, alcohol has long been "a great provoker" in making the Bard's work more relatable.
A trio of illustrations from the cocktail book Shakespeare, Not Stirred: Ophelia, King Henry VIII and King Lear. Source: The Folger Shakespeare Library / James Monaco

It's not often that an actor is encouraged to toss back a real cocktail while on stage. But at the nightly performances of the off-Broadway play Drunk Shakespeare, having a drink — or five — is actually required.

The brainchild of producer Scott Griffin and director David Hudson, is akin to watching a live version of Comedy Central's "," only the audience is drinking along with the cast in real time — and sometimes even changing the direction of the performance. It's improv combined with classical theater, which Hudson says is built around the premise that the show's quasi-fictional company of actors, known as the Drunk Shakespeare Society, are "a group of professional drinkers with

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR2 min readPolitics
Who In The House Is Calling For Impeachment?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced the launch of a formal impeachment inquiry after months of expressing caution. Here are all the members who have come out on the record in support of the move.
NPR3 min readSociety
Where You're Born Even Within A Country Still Matters
Fewer children are dying globally, but a new study finds geographic disparities still exist within many countries.
NPR2 min read
More California Blackouts To Avert Wildfires May Start Wednesday, PG&E Says
The utility giant warned over 200,000 customers in 16 California counties that gusty winds and low humidity may bring more proactive power shutoffs starting Wednesday.