ShakesBEER: An NYC Pub Crawl
The other weekend I went to the theater. Ok maybe it wasn’t so much of a theater, as it was a theater of the human condition. A bar, I went to bar.
But I went to this bar to partake of the theater of the human condition, to soak up the wisdom of my fellow man. Drink, I was there to drink. But while I was drinking at the bar, I did happen to see some actors acting some Shakespeare, and it was pretty fucking cool.
The idea of the Bard in a bar immediately appealed to me because, frankly, I’ve seen Shakespeare in the Park, and who needs all that sunshine, fresh air or the sight of, ugh, fresh-faced children? (Sorry I just threw up in my mouth a little bit). I don’t want to see the drunken Sir John Falstaff lumbering around amongst the scent of flowers and the buzz of bees, I want him sloshing around a dank midtown bar, smelling of urine and beer.
My dreams came true for two Saturdays this September when the New York Shakespeare Exchange presented the ShakesBEER pub crawl. At each of four midtown bars, a troupe of talented actors performed one scene from a Shakespeare play, while their sardine-squished audience imbibed, laughed, hooted and huzzahed. It felt just like being a groundling (oh wait, I meant these groundlings), one with the sweaty masses packed into the Globe theater…except for all the iPhones. It was strangely awesome to hear the words of the Bard from the booming voices of skilled actors punctuated by the dejected interjections of football fans. To see the heroic Rosalind from As You Like It perched atop the bar while a Viagra commercial played behind her head. The mix of old and new, theater and television, literary fan and sports fan was an unexpectedly kick-ass mashup.
The ShakesBEER Pub Crawl brought something truly unique to the New York bar scene. I mean where else could you have a drink, hear passionate speeches, see men and women crossdressing, a homeless drunk guy waving a knife…ok, that’s pretty much the New York bar scene in a nutshell, but still.
Photo Credits: Vince Gatton, Allyson Herbst