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

NPR4 min readFood & Wine
Study: Sugar Rules The World And Ruins Teeth
The authors of a new study say dental health is especially bad in low- and middle-income countries — and that Big Sugar works to make sure soda and candy aren't targeted as cavity culprits.
NPR3 min readPolitics
Director Of National Intelligence Dan Coats Appoints New Election Security Czar
Spy world veteran Shelby Pierson will attempt to centralize election security efforts across the intelligence community with soon-to-be-designated agency leads.
NPR3 min read
Bowen Yang And Matt Rogers: I Don't Think So, Honey!
Comedians and co-hosts of Las Culturistas, Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers discuss their lives before comedy and how they became friends. Then they get competitive in two games about honey and pop divas.