"Now 'mongst this flock of drunkards"
Drunk Shakespeare's Polytemporal Theater
Drunk Shakespeare is a current off-Broadway production that combines a performance of Macbeth with outrageous improvisation, frequent audience participation, and, as the show's title unapologetically promises, drunken revelry. Despite the production's playful irreverence, this essay argues that The Drunk Shakespeare Society's Macbeth adapts a consistent Shakespearean trope — specifically, the capacity of alcoholic consumption to alter temporal landscapes and loosen time restraints — into a shared theatrical experience. Building off recent work in both Shakespearean polytemporalities and immersive performance, this essay explores the means by which Drunk Shakespeare wields communal carousal as an immersive strategy that invites audiences not only to witness, but to inhabit the surreal, polychronic worlds of Macbeth. As I argue here, the convergence of time, drink, and theatrics that informs Drunk Shakespeare theatricalizes a consistent Shakespearean probe into the temporal release that drink affords. Thus, convivial consumption becomes not only a gimmick, but one of a number of immersive strategies that this production employs in order to create an experiential Macbeth, one in which audiences, in the manner of Lady Macbeth, may "feel now / The future in the instant" (1.5.65-66).
The opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors, the English Department, or the University System of Georgia.
Borrowers and Lenders is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND. Authors hold copyright on their essays and may share their essays freely and readers may cite essays freely with appropriate attribution. We abide by Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act on Fair Use.
If you have any further information about copyrights and permissions of material on this site, please contact the editors.