DRINKING ON THE JOB: The cast of Bye Bye Liver is totally cool with a few beers on the clock.
“The Public House Theater Company’s mission statement is to use alcohol as a gateway drug to theater,” says William Touissant, cast member of Bye Bye Liver: The Drinking Play. “That’s exactly what it should be, anyway.”
Equal parts sketch comedy and interactive drinking game, Bye Bye Liver is the kind of performance that speaks to folks who are more comfortable sidling up to the bar than being ushered to a seat in the Kimmel Center.
Carolina Millard, the eight-person cast’s senior member, has plenty of to say about the benefits of giving booze and theater a hard shake: “Just like alcohol, the show gets people more comfortable with interacting and having fun, getting outside of your comfort zone. Especially with the drinking games – it’s like being forced to have fun, and they’re okay with that because they’re kind of buzzed.”
Urban Saloon (2120 Fairmount Ave.) is home to Bye Bye Liver on Friday (8 p.m.) and Saturday (8 and 10 p.m.), the cast setting up a prop bar and bringing the kind of comedy that comes with a tab.
Sketches include beer roulette (think a bucket of beers, one of which has been vigorously shaken), a meditation on the varying effects of various shots (yes, drinking Everclear does render a man useless), and the always entertaining “Would You Rather?”
Bye Bye Liver has been performed all over the country, but cast members have tailored the show to regional tastes with Philly-specific questions like “Would you rather have an unlimited supply of your favorite beer, or an unlimited supply of Wawa?” Or, even better: “Would you rather sit on a duck-boat tour for 72 hours, or watch every M. Night Shyamalan movie in chronological order in one sitting?” (The second query was very well-received one particular evening when Shyamalan’s assistant was in the audience.)
Then, of course, there is the sometimes perilous aspect of performing to a room full of folks who have had a couple. “People feel inclined to yell weird stuff like ‘I’ve done Jager! I’ve done Jager!’” cast member Jason Singer explains. There is a certain amount of drunk self-policing that happens in the audience, though. Singer says that one time, a lone civilian hero approached a group of 10 particularly vocal audience members and offered to buy them their next round if they would “shut the fuck up right now.” “It gets real,” says Singer.
But it’s that kind of energy that makes the show, explains Touissant: “We’ve had some people who were really, really pumped about the show who have given us a lot of their really drunk energy, which is really great. As far as audience members go, if you can handle your alcohol without being a complete asshole, I totally suggest drinking your face off. Drink, drink, drink, drink – because that’s what the show is all about anyway.”
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