Perhaps the most effective kind of comedy is the organic kind, naturally grown out of extremely simple premises.
To create the gut-busting show An Idiot Abroad, Ricky Gervais simply plucked his numskull buddy Karl Pilkington out of the comforts of London for a globetrotting adventure against his will. To produce Cards Against Humanity, the designers simply thought up hundreds of ridiculous nouns and risque phrases with words missing, allowing the chaos and hilarity to create itself.
Sh!tfaced Shakespeare follows suit by simply reenacting Midsummer Night’s Dream, but with a twist. Yep, you guessed it; one of the actors is actually wasted during the play.
The show begins with an eclectic MC taking the stage, explaining the beautifully simple premise and even showing the audience the remnants of the actor’s pregame. In our case, it was a mix of Sweetwater 420 and Georgia Brown, totaling eleven empty beers (remember, this is not Tipsy Shakespeare).
Afterwards, our MC offers two lucky audience members a gong and a trumpet, each of which they can play once, at any point during the show, to stop the scene and make our hammered lead take yet another drink.
A third, less lucky audience member receives a bucket, and is only half-kiddingly instructed to be ready at a moment’s notice to leap into action and help keep the stage clean.
Following the introduction, the show proceeds as expected… totally unexpected. Our wasted Lysander did a staggeringly impressive job remembering most of his lines to move the plot forward, but nevertheless tortured and teased his fellow actors with props from other plays and by stuffing random objects down his pants.
Beyond the hilarity of actor Alex Towers’ fourth wall breaks and outrageous non-sequiturs, what’s especially endearing about this show is how well the other actors adapt, fully in-character, to their toasted colleague’s antics. Despite the small, grungy theater and ridiculous premise, nothing about this production says “amateur,” as Alex’s fellow (sober) troupers Rachel Frawley, Jake Krakovsky, Jacob McKee, and Sarah Newby Halicks display unwavering passion and versatility throughout the modest hour-and-change run time.
Toss in the fact that you can grab a beer from the adjoining bar and tickets are only $7 with promo code GETPUCKED, Sh!tfaced Shakespeare is simply unmissable.
Sh!tfaced Shakespeare is a production of 7 Stages Theater, located in Little Five Points at 1105 Euclid Ave. Showings are every Friday and Saturday through December 2nd, including Thursday November 17th. For further details and to reserve tickets, visit 7stages.org/shows/shit-faced-shakespeare/
– Chris Butsch, Contributor, Author of The Millennial’s Guide to Making Happiness