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 read
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Locks Out Musicians As Contract Dispute Continues
Contract and salary negotiations between musicians and management have stalled, leaving BSO players picketing outside their concert hall.
NPR4 min read
'Patron Saints Of Nothing' Is A Book For 'The Hyphenated'
Young adult author Randy Ribay says it's tough having "a dual identity" in a world "where people want you to be one thing." His new novel explores the Philippine government's deadly war on drugs.
NPR2 min readPolitics
Supreme Court Hands Democrats A Win On Racial Gerrymandering In Virginia
Eleven legislative districts in Virginia were declared to be sorted by race and were redrawn. The court's decision Monday left that in place.