Lots of great plays are built around characters getting blitzed. A crucial plot turn in Macbeth depends on guards passing out after being slipped a Mickey by Lady Macbeth. Stanley's rape of Blanche DuBois in Streetcar happens when he gets violently drunk celebrating the birth of his and Stella's baby. Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof keeps a shot glass in Brick's hand until he's feeling no pain.

Long Day's Journey into Night is four hours of epic breakdowns by three alcoholics and a morphine addict (based on Eugene O'Neill's own family). When O'Neill's Iceman Cometh, it's to a Bowery saloon.

Tracy Letts' Pulitzer-winning August: Osage County (directed here at WaterTower Theatre by René Moreno) is an alcohol-pills-and-grass marathon, with almost every character ingesting one or more reality-altering substances.

Chris Hury, Tom Lenaghen, Nancy Sherrard and Pam Dougherty in WaterTower's production of Tracy Letts' boozy August: Osage County.
Mark Oristano
Chris Hury, Tom Lenaghen, Nancy Sherrard and Pam Dougherty in WaterTower's production of Tracy Letts' boozy August: Osage County.

The musicals Company (with its great toast to the three-martini "Ladies Who Lunch"), Guys and Dolls, The Wild Party and Promises, Promises build to pivotal scenes involving alcohol consumption. The Drowsy Chaperone doesn't have narcolepsy — she's blotto.

The Tony-winning play God of Carnage begins with two upscale New York couples soberly discussing their children. It ends with a drunken free-for-all, complete with a volcanic vomit spew. Sally Nystuen-Vahle played the upchucker in last season's production at Dallas Theater Center. Her exquisitely paced evolution from uptight urban matron to leg-sprawling harridan was hilarious.

Just the kind of great drunk performance the audience remembers the morning after.

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1 comments
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Wow!  Liz gave a major tour-de-force performance in the movie version.  Maybe the best of her brilliant career.  Richard Burton and the great Sandy Dennis were right there with her.  Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? has been solidly in my top ten movies list for decades.

 
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