Long-time South Bay theater artist John McCluggage presents the next installment of ShakesBEERience San Jose with The Taming of the Shrew on June 30 at Café Stritch, where theater fans can enjoy the presentation with an equally enjoyable beverage in hand.
The ShakesBEERience model was launched in Portsmouth, N.H., three years ago by 7 Stages Shakespeare Company, to which McCluggage and his wife Alexandra have close connections. He is an associate artist and occasional director and actor, and she a member of the company’s advisory Board.
Dividing their time between New Hampshire and California and having spent many years in San Jose’s theater scene, the duo, co-founders of Buck Hill Productions, thought it would be perfect to bring west, meeting John’s personal artistic goal of producing theater in non-traditional venues and at places people naturally gather for other pursuits.
“ShakeBEERience is sort of like theater jazz—it matches perfectly with the venue,” Alexandra says. “We are thrilled to partner with Café Stritch. [Owner] Steve Borkenhagen is a long-time friend and arts supporter and we knew Stritch would be the place to launch the series.”
ShakesBEERience, Alexandra says, is a response to a contemporary audiences’ desire for engaging programming, interactive, informal experiences and opportunities to socialize. Works of Shakespeare are presented in a unique, playful and accessible way in an easy-going and entertaining environment where the audience drinks, eats and has a good time.
“We call ShakeBEERience, ‘a pub, a pint and a play,’” she says. “It’s an experience, not a performance. You don’t need to know anything about Shakespeare. You just come along for the ride and enjoy the event. Whether you come for the whole reading, or can just stay for one scene, the ShakesBEERience you have is up to you.”
Expect professional actors and local community celebrities to carry scripts and move about the bar, engaging with audience members on occasion and toasting each other when appropriate.
Admission to the staged reading is free though there is a suggested donation. Seating is first come, first serve, and there is a club membership that provides guaranteed, reserved seats. Previous presentations have been standing room only, so consider arriving early to get your seat and a pint or two.
ShakesBEERience is at Cafe Stritch on June 30. Admission is free and the show starts at 7pm.
[This post was shared on SanJose.com.]