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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Shakespeare While Intoxicated?

I found this funny group of actors called Sh*t-Faced Shakespeare in Edinburgh who perform while one of their actors gets drunk.

The actors take turns from performance to performance getting plastered and from the video clip in this article, it looks like a very funny, and entirely unconventional, way to see Shakespeare.

Sh*t-faced Shakespeare


The reason I like this is because the sound of the laughter in the crowd and the back and forth with the audience. The drunk actor engages in a little off-script humor with the crowd, and this is arguably the way in which Shakespeare and the other actors performed in front of their audiences at the Globe.

Who's to say that Burbage, Condell or even Shakespeare himself didn't drink a little before and during a show -- to calm their nerves?

Is it hard to imagine that Will Kemp as Falstaff might have even been drinking onstage? What if he got down into the Yard and took a cup of beer from someone in the audience?

There is another group of actors who perform Shakespeare in parks, during the day, and they interact with the crowd -- "the audience becomes part of the play."

How wonderful!

Evanston's Muse Of Fire Theater Company rehearsing Julius Caesar
These actors want to see the crowd, so they perform not at night and not with lights blinding them!

In my adaptations, I created many characters who interact with the play as they watch it, until they become part of the play itself. They also provide us, the modern audience, with a translation to the plays.

But in the process of adapting the plays, I became convinced that Shakespeare not only anticipated the reaction of the audience, when they would laugh or cry or talk aloud, but he encouraged it. He wanted the crowd to respond, as loud and as often as possible.

Cheers,

David