In 2014, a bunch of actor friends in Milwaukee were looking for an excuse to get together and read a script over a few drinks. They pulled out a few Shakespeare classics and found themselves a pub that would let them rehearse while they guzzled some beer. What they hadn’t expected in this scheme of things is that the other guests would be a willing audience, even goad them to play their parts after the booze had kicked in. This unexpected factor, however, became the very premise of a new initiative called “Boozy Bard”. Albeit drunk, the Bard has managed to cross the oceans and has arrived in Mumbai. Brought to India by graffiti artist Dhanya Pilo and Josh Bryan of Boozy Bard productions, to mark Shakespeare’s 400th death anniversary, “Boozy Bard: Bombay” will be held on May 25 and May 31 at Versova’s The House gastropub. Mumbai will get to watch Much Ado About Nothing done by a bunch of local actors.
“The actors draw roles out of a hat in front of the audience, run backstage to find their script, a piece of a costume, and their drink. One half of the play is staged reading, one half theatre improv, with all parts silliness. We also have drinking games for the audience. After all, we want them to be on the same page,” says Bryan. The team has been using social media to invite those who would like to perform. “One can just read the play or watch any of the film adaptations we will share on the Facebook page so that he or she feels comfortable with the story and characters,” says Bryan, adding that the actors will be provided with a pre-highlighted script, complete with brief character notes about mood, intention, and occasional hints about Shakespearean vulgarities and slang.