Drunk Shakespeare is an Off Broadway production in New York City. Five professional actors, one of whom has had at least five shots of alcohol, will act out a Shakespearean play. Together, they form the Drunk Shakespeare Society, “a drinking club with a Shakespeare problem”.
While visiting New York City in January, my husband (Blake) and I attended a performance of Drunk Shakespeare. This was one of our favorite things that we did while in NYC. We had a wonderful evening and can see why Drunk Shakespeare is so highly rated and recommended.
What To Expect
Drunk Shakespeare takes place in a lounge made to look like a library, with more than 15,000 books organized by color. Guests are are handed a shot when they enter the lounge to kick off the evening. The cast walks around the room to talk to you before the show begins. Food and drinks are available for purchase and a waitress comes around to take your order.
The first order of business is to seat the show’s King and Queen. This experience includes special seating at the head of the room for two audience members. The King and Queen drink champagne, eat caviar and chocolate, wear crowns, and administer the last two shots to the drunken cast member. When the King or Queen rings a bell, the play stops and the designated drinker’s intoxication level is tested. Afterwards, the King and Queen get to decide if they will “pardon the fool” (not make him/her take a shot) or “off with his/her head” (take another shot). Spoiler alert: if the King and Queen opt to “pardon the fool”, the audience can overrule the decision, as per the Drunk Shakespeare Society rules.
The performance begins with the evening’s drinker taking four shots. How do you know they are actually drinking alcohol? Five shots are poured and one audience member is selected to pick any shot on the tray and take it. They will confirm that the glasses do in fact contain alcohol. Then the play can begin. The designated drunken cast member and Shakespeare plays rotate, so each show is different.
Our Evening At Drunk Shakespeare
Our show’s Shakespearean play was Macbeth. Each Drunk Shakespeare cast member had to play numerous parts since there were only five of them. Watching the actors differentiate themselves from one character to another was quite comical. When the Witches appear in the play, three cast members would walk bent over, with jackets wrapped around their head, talking in high pitched voices. The ghost of Banquo consisted of one running around the room with a sheet over his head. Each time the (made-up roll) Narrator would speak, he would talk in a different impersonation, including Christopher Walken, Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad, Donald Trump, and Elmo.
Our designated drinker was Caitlin Morris. She was hilarious. At one point, Caitlin stood off to the side eating tortilla chips. When it came time for her intoxication level to be checked, she had to list all of William Shakespeare’s works before an audience member could chug a beer (she lost) and recite her favorite Shakespearean monologue (the King and Queen’s pardon was overruled by the audience). By the end of the play, Caitlin had in fact taken six shots.
The Drunk Shakespeare Society members did a great job of engaging and involving the audience. We saw a dance off, striptease, and numerous monologues be interrupted. Despite all of the “chaos”, the show ran very smoothly.
Blake and I had a fantastic time! He said that Drunk Shakespeare was “awesome, very entertaining, fun, and new”. I have seen numerous Broadway and Off Broadway productions and this ranks among my favorites. I would love to go again! Drunk Shakespeare made for a wonderful evening and unforgettable experience.
Should You See Drunk Shakespeare?
If you like to laugh, YES! Tickets start at $55 and can be purchased here. The show is 90 minutes, with no intermission. Pictures and videos are encouraged, making for great Snapchat and Instagram stories.
FYI: You must be 21 years of age to attend Drunk Shakespeare. IDs are checked at the door.
300 W 43rd Street
New York, New York 10036
Taylor Pittman Hardy wrote this article.
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We were provided tickets for writing this article. All reviews and opinions are mine and completely unbiased.