Beyonce has been drunk in love for a while now – but she’s got nothin’ on the boozy romance of Shakespeare. The playwright was not only the writer of sweet sonnets and timeless tales, but also a studious swigger of swill. A connoisseur of cocktails. A procurer of potent potables. You catch our drift? Willy liked to DRINK. Skeptics, step aside: in “Henry V” he wrote, “I would give all my fame for a pot of ale.” In “Othello” he opined, “Good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be well used.” And in “Macbeth,” the popular “Drink sir, is a great provoker…”

So, it’s only natural that there are folks around the globe who’ve taken to performing his famous plays whilst heavily under the influence. Tucked atop Hell’s Kitchen bar Quinn’s Bar & Grill, the Drunk Shakespeare Society is doing just that — and much more. We raised a glass and chatted with the show’s producer, Scott Griffin, along with one of their tipsy cast members, Lindsey Hope Pearlman, about the makings of such boozy theater.

Well into their summer run, the troupe offers daily shows on Mondays, Wednesday and Thursdays at 8 p.m., along with two shows each on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. No two nights are the same here. Two casts (made up of 5 actors each) rotate through a variety of Shakespearean favorites, but all renditions come complete with inebriated improv. “I've seen the show over 70 times,” Scott says. “And I'm still regularly surprised by what these guys decide do after a few drinks!”

For each performance, one actor from the cast is chosen to be, well, “the drunk one.” What’s in a drunkard? “Each night, the drunk actor has at least 6 shots of whiskey, plus some mystery drinks along the way,” Scott says. “Usually, the actor has a drink before the show as well to get them warmed up.” But knockin’ ‘em back isn’t the only preparation involved. Lindsey tends to get her nutrition on. (Ya know, repairing the liver and whatnot.) “I try to drink a kale juice the night before,” she says, adding with a laugh, “It’s more psychological than for my health.” The crew began rehearsing back in February and March, so she’s gotten a good idea of just the right amount of swill to sip for a show. “When I started the run, I was pregaming a lot but I've kind of scaled it back,” she says. “It's an occupational hazard that sometimes you have that one extra tequila shot too many because you want to be silly, and in that free space, but you don't want be so out of control that it’s awkward.” (Sounds like sound advice to us.)

With all that booze running through their veins, crazy things obviously happen. Scott and Lindsey both have fond memories of the wackiest moments they’ve witnessed. “There have been many hilarious highlights, but one night the character of Ross was asked to do famous cartoon animal impersonations and MacDuff was asked to do Shakespeare in Mandarin,” Scott remembers. “When these two improv requests collided in one scene we ended up having MacDuff in Mandarin conversing with Sebastian the crab from Little Mermaid speaking (and singing) in Shakespearean English. Comedy gold!” Lindsey’s favorite moment came during Lady Macbeth’s legendary “out, damned spot!” sleepwalking scene. “I crowdsurfed,” she says. “People should come to the show thirsty and ready to lift me up and carry me on their shoulders!”

They’re also known to use a lineup of random-sounding (and often hilarious) props through the shows. To date, they’ve used puppets, cupcakes, clay, lipstick, water pistols, water balloons, whipped cream, air fresheners and many, many others. Plus clothing from members of the cast...and audience. Our favorite though? Piñatas. “For Shakespeare's 450th Birthday we had piñatas filled with mini bottles of whiskey which were used in the scene where MacDuff's family is killed,” Scott says. “We killed the piñatas and scattered candy and alcohol through the audience.”

Scott is a bit of an oddball himself. Besides founding an online tax company in Australia during the Dot Com Era, and an extreme cycling adventures business, he also spent 15 years managing and singing with a contemporary vocal ensemble called The Australian Voices, a gig that took him to more than 240 concerts in 200 cities back in 2012. It was during this time spent as a globetrotting tenor that he first began to conceive the idea for Drunk Shakespeare. “I saw a great show at the Edinburgh Fringe called ‘Shitfaced Shakespeare’ which attempts to do a ‘true’ classical version of Shakespeare on a stage with alcohol,” he says. “I decided to try a different approach with a contemporary/irreverent version of Shakespeare + alcohol in a bar in New York and engaged a great team here to help create it.” And it turns out, New York was ready to knock back a few. “We had over 1300 actors audition for 10 places,” Scott says. “We started cutting the 1300 applicants down by testing their Shakespearean skills. After that, we tested their improv comedy. The result is a really unique company of people who really know their Shakespeare but are also fantastic at improv.”

So – to beer or not to beer – why not go see for yourself? Snag a ticket here for $37 per person, then head over to the 2nd floor of Quinn’s Bar at 356 West 44th Street. “It's the most fun project I've ever worked on,” Scott says. “If you love Shakespeare, this is the show for you. If you hate Shakespeare... this is the show for you!”