“Would you like some vodka poured into your mouth?”
Now, I’ve seen a lot of unusual things in my years of attending the theater. (Like, in England they serve sausages during intermission.) But I’ve never had a cast member offer to pour alcohol down my throat.
But then that’s really what you should expect when you go to see a show called “Shotspeare,” running this weekend at the Playhouse @ Westport Plaza.
Starring, directed, and written (with help from William Shakespeare) by Matthew Morgan, “Shotspeare” finally makes The Bard tolerable for those who hate or just don’t understand iambic pentameter. The secret, you see, is alcohol. Lots and lots of alcohol.
Morgan is joined onstage by Brandon Breault, Timur Kocak, Heidi Brucker Morgan, Brian David Sloan and some courageous soul pulled out of the audience. Together they perform Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” at breakneck speed — stopping only for a beer or a shot of Shakespeare vodka (Yes, it’s a real thing).
One-part classical theater and two-parts drinking game, “Shotspeare” has its own unique twists. Whenever an actor is about to deliver one of The Bard’s trademark long speeches, everything stops while the actor spins “The Wheel of Soliloquy.” The actor then continues with his performance, while being pelted with socks, beaten with foam clubs, or forced to recite his lines while eating crackers — depending on where the wheel stops.
Three audience members are given red cards, which they can use once to stop the progress of the play and force the cast to take a shot.
Who says Shakespeare is only for intellectuals?
“Shotspeare” is silly and clever and funny and ribald and raunchy (Romeo and Juliet’s sex scene is, well, just be glad it takes place behind a curtain). The show is truly an English Lit teacher’s nightmare.
Do you have to be drunk to enjoy “Shotspeare?” No, but it’s probably even better if you are. I was pretty much sober through it all and I had a good time. And no, I didn’t take the man up on his pre show drink offer.
SHOTSPEARE runs through Saturday at the Playhouse @ Westport Plaza. http://www.playhouseatwestport.com/shotspear