This is part of an ongoing series of regional Shakespeare coverage. It’s Tori here with the latest in Shakespeare news from Toronto.
In less than a week, star-crossed lovers and performers of Shakespeare will gather together for the sixth annual Shakesbeers Showdown to help raise money for Spur of the Moment Shakespeare Collective’s Shakespeare in Hospitals Initiative. The premise is simple: actors from some of Toronto’s best Shakespeare companies will gather together to attempt to read sections of the first folio while consuming enormous amounts of beer. For every mistake that is made, the competitor must drink. The last competition standing this year will receive the coveted Heavyweight belt and the heavyweight of the beer in their stomach. I caught up with the teams competing this year. I recently chatted with A.J. Richardson from Shakespeare in the Ruff about his past strategies and the advice he’s been giving his team members.
What do you think you bring to the table that the other teams don’t have?
A.J.: Tim & Danny are going to bring presence to their readings. Some competitors mutter like dopes dying in an ale house, they bash through the text, while others have wolf manners and lick their paws. I think Tim & Danny have what Ruff has long established at these events, and that’s the ability to lift the words off of the page and bring the intangibility of theatricality at this otherwise cerebral sporting event.
Do you have any strategies?
A.J.: I never had a strategy when I competed; I had a mindset. I wanted to have fun and I was genuinely excited about the content of the scene selections.
Who do you think is your biggest competition and why?
A.J.: Joshua & Matt are the ones to watch. They may read a bit slowly, but they tend to get the words right.
What do you like most about this event and why have you chosen to participate?
A.J.: I like the inherent networking aspects of the event. I’ve met (or simply got to know better) a ton of artists through Shakesbeers. I’m personally unavailable but I want Ruff to let our indie-Shakespeare friends know that we’re still here, doing new things.
What is your one message or piece of advice for each of the other teams?
A.J.: Mind your P’s and Q’s, your I’s and J’s, your F’s and S’s, and your U’s and V’s.
What is your favourite beer?
A.J.: I’ve been into Collingwood’s Rockwell Pilsner for the last little while. Also happy with Nickle Brook’s Naughty Neighbour.
What is your favourite Shakespeare play?
A boisterous good time for audience and performers alike, The Shakesbeers Showdown is a celebration of Shakespeare, indie theatre, and all fans of a good, healthy (ridiculous) competition. All proceeds go towards the Shakespeare-In-Hospitals 2017 Program. The project is set to embark on its 2017 tour this fall, bringing Shakespeare to the common rooms and bedsides of hospitals and shelters throughout Toronto.
So grab a pint and raise your voice to support your favourite team…because trust us, they’re gonna need it!
The Shakebeers Showdown Vol. 6
April 30th at 918 Bathurst St.
Doors at 6:00, Show at 7:00
Early-Bard Tickets (available until April 1st) $15
Students/Arts Workers: $18
General Admission: $20
Tweet-Seats (front row with a free beer) $25
Buy in advance before they’re gone: http://shakesbeers2017.bpt.me