Bard & Bourbon takes the stage at In Tandem Theatre through Memorial Day, performing Shakespeare exactly as it was intended: utterly plastered.
The cast of The Tempest (Drunk). All photos courtesy of Erin Bloodgood at Bloodgood Foto, LLC.
No, it's not fake. Each night, one of the actors in the production of The Tempest is selected to be the drunken performer for the evening. Friday's performance inebriated the great Prospero, as he was served a total of ten shots during the tale.
While the company is associated with boozy shenanigans, the quality of the play itself holds water. Samantha Martinson's direction brings a purely comedic style to the Bard's tragicomedy. The result is fresh and fast, with action that flows through the house and aisles and back to the stage.
and Rick Bingen.
Rayne Kleinofen makes a splash in her B&B debut. Her Miranda is delightfully awkward. Having met no eligible bachelors until Prince Ferdinand (Rick Bingen), Miranda is instantly lovestruck. Kleinofen embraces the youthful flirtation. Bingen's feeble take on the Prince makes the duo the show's most likable characters.
Madeline Wakley and Ro Spice-Kopischke channel Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum as Trinculo and Stephano. Spice-Kopischke's Stephano is the confident leader (whose plans leave something to be desired), while Wakley's Trinculo follows along (despite having a touch more logic herself). This dynamic compliments the script and builds in strong physical comedy.
The show's lighting, by Colin Gawronski, adds a level of professionalism which stands out against the economical set. While the simplicity of the production suits the comedy, Gawronski's lighting slips in a touch of drama here and there, drawing audiences into the moments of beauty in the waves of humor.
The drunk of the night, Joel Kopischke, remained surprisingly collected throughout the performance. He commands attention with booming vocals, yet invites audiences into Prospero's good heart. His banter with the spritely Ariel (Grace DeWolff) is playful and natural. While the effects of the alcohol made themselves known as Kopischke watched other scenes, he cast away the stupor in his own work. Or, perhaps, he channelled his own drunkenness into the character. Whatever the case may be, Kopischke's performance gives the show a larger than life presence.
The Tempest brings together many of the elements audiences love about Shakespeare's work: confused bloodlines, conspiracies for the crown, quirky romance, dirty jokes, and a touch of magic. Martinson leaves no stone unturned. Her direction leans into all of these strengths in the script, creating a show which has the means to resonate with any audience. A touch of alcohol takes it to that next level and makes the performance an interactive spectacle. This stormy story runs for one weekend only.