Wherefore art cocktail?

What could be better than a night of Shakespeare, regarded as one of the greatest writers in the English language and the world’s preeminent dramatist?

Drunk Shakespeare, that’s what!

Over the next few weeks, you’ll get a chance to catch “Smashed Shakespeare – Romeo & Juliet,” in which booze is mixed with the teenage tragedy. The production is presented by Doctuh Mistuh Productions, whose parent company is Durango Theatreworks, both spearheaded by Michael E. McKelvey, head of the new FLC Musical Theatre program.

McKelvey said the night will feature a shortened version of “Romeo & Juliet,” with one major twist: one of the six actors on stage will be drinking throughout the evening.

“So one of the actors is going to be inebriated by the end of the night, and you really don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “They could be a loose cannon on stage, and it’s going to be up to other actors to keep the show going.”

Now, we’ve pulled off quite a few incredible feats while drunk – graduating college, pretending to have a good time at the mean aunt’s Thanksgiving, surviving COVID shutdown. But retelling one of the most famous romances between two teens with feuding families? Well, that’s another level.

Turns out, drunk Shakespeare renditions are a thing across the country, with productions in major cities like New York, Boston, Chicago and Austin. But it appears this might be the first go at it in Durango (though, like we just said, our memories may be compromised by the aforementioned drinking).

So who are our brave souls attempting the feat? The cast features Durango Theatreworks company members Matt Bodo, Siena Widen, Kieran Peck, Oliver Kennedy, Maya Mouret and Haley Sandford. Godspeed!

And, there’ll be plenty of crowd participation, too – i.e. drinking games. McKelvey said the event has built-in drinking games for those in the crowd up to the task. Every time someone kisses or dies? Take a sip. Anytime someone says “Romeo” (which McKelvey said amounts to 74), take a sip.

“That last one’s not for the faint of heart,” McKelvey joked. “But it’s a way to keep the audience engaged.”

Your first chance to catch the madness is Tuus., May 30, at 7 p.m. at 11th St. Station. From there, performances will be held at the Durango Arts Center at 7 p.m. on June 6, 17 and 20. Get tickets at www.eventbrite.com.

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