ShakesBEER: The Shakesperean Pub Crawl That Combines Theatre And Alcohol In The Most Brilliant Way Possible
What do you get when you cross a pub crawl with a Shakespearean play? ShakesBEER: a "Shakespearean pub crawl." Yep, for the low, low price of $45 dollars, you can hop from bar to bar in Midtown, Manhattan while enjoying select scenes from a few Shakespearean classics — including As You Like It and Romeo and Juliet. Oh yeah, and did I mention that admission comes with a few drink tickets?
According to the Wall Street Journal, the man responsible for such artistic debauchery is Ross Williams, a director, performer, teacher, and founder of the New York Shakespeare Exchange (NYSX). Launched in 2009, NYSX focuses on "what happens when contemporary culture is infused with Shakespearean poetry and themes in unexpected ways." In other words, the company formulates new and innovative ways of enjoying Shakespeare — like adding alcohol and a pub environment to the performance. Williams tells Theatre Mania that this was his intention with ShakesBEER:
"My board had said we needed to find more ways to reach new audiences," says Artistic Director Ross Williams. "One of the things we're focused on is making sure Shakespeare is part of people's lives in exciting ways."
So how, exactly does ShakesBEER work, you ask? According to Broadway World, you meet up at 2:30 p.m. before beginning a three hour pub crawl to four bars in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan. At each bar, actors use the space — for example, standing on the bar instead of a balcony — to perform scenes from various Shakespeare plays, including Romeo and Juliet, Cymbeline, and As You Like It, as well as a mashup of 10 different Shakespearean plays. You also get four drink tickets to cash in during the crawl, or "roaming Shakespeare performance" as Williams describes to the Wall Street Journal.
Funny enough, NYSX isn't the first company to mix alcohol with the works of William Shakespeare. Theatre Mania notes that Drunk Shakespeare — compared to "Drunk History" on their website — also involves a Shakespearean performance in a bar, however the players must perform after consuming five shots of whiskey. Not sure if drinking while watching a (most likely) slurred rendition of Romeo and Juliet is your thing? Keep your eye out for Salty Shakespeare, a Shakespearean flashmob in Los Angeles, or try out Shakesprov: "Improvised Elizabethan Theatre" in Portland, Organ. Because who wants to watch Shakespeare in a theatre anyway?
Need tickets for the next ShakesBEER crawl in October? Check out New York Shakespeare Exchange's website for details.