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Alcohol and Shakespeare: A Match Made in Heaven

Well, that was a lot of fun. Shit-faced Shakespeare, of Magnificent Bastard Productions, just announced it is extending its run in Boston through June after a slate of sold-out shows. Boasting a stat-sheet shining with accomplishments like zero deaths, 4,450 units of alcohol drunk in preparation for the show, and 29 individual nipples shown, Shit-faced Shakespeare is absolutely worth the $25 for admission and much more.

Shit-faced Shakespeare is a totally-serious rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but with a twist: one totally-seriously shit-faced cast member.

The show is rehearsed entirely sober for months, much like any run-of-the-mill production you may have attended with your parents over the years, but just before the curtain rises a different cast member is selected to become completely sloshed. You can see the appeal.

Nick Olives / Gavel Media

Nick Olives / Gavel Media

Before the show started, some basic ground rules were established: one cast member is completely hammered out of his or her mind, and two members of the audience are given a gong and a horn.

If either of them feel the actor is starting to sober up, or if they feel particularly cruel, they bang the gong or blow the horn and the cast member is given another drink. Oh, and the first row is dubbed the “vom zone” for obvious, if unappealing, reasons.

Before the curtain rose and the shit-faced cast member was revealed, the leader of the show enlightened us of how much the cast-member had to drink before the show.

Included was a classy assortment of beer and an oh-my-god-how-are-you-not-dead-yet amount of rum. Seriously, that amount of rum could kill a medium-sized horse or a small bear, but probably not a regular-sized bison.

After that much alcohol, you might expect just how shit-faced the actor would become quite obvious. You’d be correct. The actor, playing Lysander, probably broke every line in his script. He spoke mainly in plain English, said “fuck” a lot, and generally interrupted the other members’ performances; it was an amazing spectacle to behold.

Nick Olives / Gavel Media

Nick Olives / Gavel Media

The play was somewhat hard to follow, despite the actors and actresses’ best efforts to keep the show coherent.

During one scene, the still very-drunk Lysander repeatedly remarked to the audience, “Do you understand what they’re saying?”

The answer was probably no, but the rest of the cast was still able to eek out the skeleton of a plot from Lysander’s shenanigans.

Ultimately, who actually cares if the play itself was hard to follow? It was so immensely entertaining and genuinely funny that the actual plot of the play was much less of a concern than the drunken spectacle.

Shit-faced Shakespeare is a glorious, drunken, and welcome addition to Boston’s theater scene. The mixture of an entirely serious Shakespeare play with copious amount of alcohol is an incredibly fun and watchable experience which made extending the run of sold-out shows through June the obvious decision.

See if you can snag a ticket here.