Several people will spend this Valentine’s Day weekend at NoDa Brewing, enjoying a quickie.
Before you rush to get to – or far away from – the brewery this weekend (I won’t judge either way), you should know it’s not what you’re thinking. Local all-female acting company Chickspeare is performing “A Quickie with Romeo and Juliet,” their comical send-up of Shakespeare’s classic play. But as you might have gathered, this will barely resemble the one you glossed over in high school English class.
“We’re small, and we’re all female,” said Sheila Snow Proctor, executive director of Chickspeare. “We’re all interested in using the same base, which is The Bard’s work, but we take it and present it in a different manner. Shakespeare’s usually done in a very traditional manner.”
That means “Romeo and Juliet” would typically follow The Bard’s work pretty closely. For the women of Chickspeare, though, his words are but a springboard for a farcical, abridged version of their own creation. And of course, Shakespeare’s works aren’t typically performed in breweries.
“We want to make it as fun as possible for the audience member who may have never seen Shakespeare before,” Proctor said. “The brewery is a great place to meet people who may not have thought they liked Shakespeare or ever encountered his work. They discover through watching the short version that they understand the story and can keep up with it.”
The group’s brewery roots date back to 1998, when it held performances at Johnson Beer Co. on Central Avenue until that brewery closed in 2001. It performed at several spaces around Charlotte until 2006, when the group took a hiatus while members were involved with other theater projects. When the gang got back together in 2012, there was no doubt it wanted to return to its brewery roots. Suzie Ford, co-founder at NoDa Brewing, thought it would be a perfect fit. The first “ChicksBEER” events were hosted at the brewery in 2012.
NoDa Brewing was not yet a year old during that first performance. It has since opened a much-larger production brewery on North Tryon, but has kept the original taproom as well. The old digs will primarily be used for barrel-aging and one-off beers, but also will be used for events like this.
At the rate NoDa and other breweries are growing, the beer scene today has grown much larger than when Chickspeare performed at Johnson Beer Co.
“Craft beer has gotten much more popular, but I don’t think the type of person that enjoys craft beer has changed all that much,” Proctor said. “They’re seekers, they’re explorers. I think when they go to a brewery and see other things going on, I don’t think they find it odd at all.”
There are two performances this weekend – at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday – and both will be held at NoDa Brewing’s original location at 2229 N. Davidson St. Tickets are $15 and – at the time of this writing – available at www.chickspeare.com or at either of NoDa Brewing’s locations. Tickets purchased in advance come with one beer ticket, and food trucks will be on hand both days (with a special Valentine’s Day menu available Sunday).
If tickets sell out (and last year’s did), look for Chickspeare to return to NoDa Brewing for the 24 Hour Play Project on April 22-23. The troupe will also perform “A Comedy of Errors” on several dates in September as part of its Shakespeare in the PARK(ing) Lot series. Details: www.chickspeare.com.
Event of the week
Triple C Brewing releases Chocolate Covered Pretzel Stout
When: Noon Saturday.
Where: Triple C Brewing, 2900 Griffith St.
What: Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Triple C Brewing is releasing its Chocolate Covered Pretzel Stout. The beer is a 9.2 percent imperial stout that was aged in bourbon barrels before cocoa nibs and sea salt were added. The pretzel notes come courtesy of a variety of specialty malts noted for their toasted profile. Bottles are $14 and will be on sale starting at noon, with a limit of six per customer. The beer will be on draft as well.