08/20/2012 04:33 pm ET Updated Oct 20, 2012

The Contemporary Shakespeare Drinking Game

Looking through the Fringe guide, it's hard to miss the massive amount of Shakespeare that occurs in Edinburgh every year. I myself worked on a total of three different shows over '05 and '07 combined -- rock musical re-imaginings of classics re-titled Mac Daddy and Lady Beth, Hamlet Q. Jones, and Bennie Othella and the Jets.

The profligate number of productions of a certain specific play this year led to the brilliant plan of drinking our way through every Romeo and Juliet on the Fringe in one day. Unfortunately, by the time we got around to planning this two of the six productions had closed, and two had yet to open. Same for The Scottish Play. But as we looked more closely at the disparate shows, we realized that although the plays themselves are incredibly diverse, contemporary productions, whether great or terrible, tend to have a lot in common.

So, without much further ado, I present: The Contemporary Shakespeare Drinking Game! (feel free to add more rules in the comments)

* Before you start, pour one out for every character that has been cut.* (Depending on the extent of the cuts, this may require buying an additional bottle of alcohol before you can continue.)
* Pre-game with a vodka/Red Bull if anywhere in the promotional materials the show is referred to as "fast-paced."
* One shot for every character that has been gender-swapped. Double that number if the cast is all male or all female.
* Shot of Pimm's for fake British accents.
* Drink a Sam Adams if the show is set in a specifically American context. (e.g. Measure for Measure in Las Vegas or Coriolanus in the Vietnam War.)
* Drink for "stylized movement" or nudity.
* Shotgun a beer every time a character specifically mentions a sword, dagger, or blade but is holding/referring to a gun.
* Shot for gratuitous sex scenes (two for "dance as sex").
* Drink every time a Shakespearean song is replaced with a pop song. Drink twice if it's the Beatles.
* Flaming shots for gratuitous use of fire.
* Do a line of coke every time a character is "re-interpreted" as a drug addict/dealer, or "poison" = "drugs."

*Doubling actors as multiple characters does not count, but actually combining characters does