“Good company, good wine, good welcome can make good people”
—William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.
A lively theater scene is must-have for any vibrant urban enclave. Mount Airy benefits from the offerings of Quintessence Theatre Group and SmokeyScout Productions; Chestnut Hill has the charming Stagecrafters Theater; further afield, Act II Playhouse was key in the revitalization of Ambler. For the last couple years, Manayunk Theatre Company (MTC) has been trying to do something similar for Manayunk, with shows in the 2014 and 2015 Fringe Festivals and a series of drink-filled readings of Shakespeare plays.
The sixth of these readings in the aptly named ShakesBEER series will take place at the Manayunk Brewing Company, Friday March 25, 2016, at 8pm, with a boozy staging of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. Featuring tequila wielding fairies and bumbling actors just trying to get a job, this gender-bent production will critique notions of proper behavior and blur the lines between audience and performer.
“The script is a little more silly and beer filled then Shakespeare originally wrote it,” says MTC’s artistic director Sean Connolly. “But honestly, we didn’t have to change Shakespeare much at all. He was already a really funny guy, we just had to twist it the right way for a modern audience.”
Shamus Hunter McCarty directs a cast of some of Philadelphia’s finest up-and-coming talent, including Francesca Piccioni, John Schultz, Katherine Perry, Rachel O’Hanlon-Rodriguez, and Hannah Van Sciver. It’s a script in hand reading (“and pint in hand,” says Connolly), but we’re not talking stand-at-podium stationary: McCarty’s blocking and direction will make full use of the brewery space.
Oh yeah, did we mention there’s beer?
Proceeds go to fund MTC’s upcoming 2016 Fringe Festival show. Tickets are $15, or just $10 if you’re in your twenties. And of course, your first drink is free.
[Manayunk Brewing Company, 4120 Main Street] March 25, 2016; manayunktheatreco.org.