No, Alyssa Szarkowski isn't really getting hammered on-stage in "Bye Bye Liver: The Twin Cities' Drinking Play," a collaborative production between Hennepin Theatre Trust and Actor’s Theatre of Minnesota.
That's just iced tea, cranberry juice and other non-alcoholic beverages she and the rest of the cast are drinking. Audience members, though, are encouraged to indulge, with an open bar and interactive drinking games between sketches.
If Szarkowski is under the influence of anything these days, it's her tipsy characters in the sketch comedy, playing weekends through July 31 at Hennepin Stages in downtown Minneapolis.
Her favorite is Kristy, a ditzy participant in a sketch about boozy conversations in barroom bathrooms. “I'm not really a girly girl, so it's fun to play the girly girl," Szarkowski says. "Then all of a sudden during the week, you're like, Oh my gosh, I'm starting to act like Kristy. I'm starting to talk like Kristy: ‘Like, totes!’”
Szarkowski, 28, probably couldn't party like her characters anyway given her current schedule. In addition to Friday and Saturday night "Liver" performances — and roles as a voiceover and independent film actor — she works full time as Mall of America's web producer and is also finishing a bachelor's degree in collaborative arts, creativity and visual design at the University of Minnesota. She spends her free time doing yard work at the house she and her boyfriend recently bought. Or contributing to hitrecord.org, an online collaborative community and production company run by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt of "500 Days of Summer," which happens to be Szarkowski's favorite film.
Three and out with actress Alyssa Szarkowski
- How did you prepare for "Bye Bye Liver"?
- Has the play influenced your drinking off-stage?
It doesn't make me drink less or more. I will say this, though: Every night after the show, we're going to (nearby pub) MacKenzie.
- How did you know you wanted to act?
When I was in elementary school, we went to "Phantom of the Opera." It was amazing; it just seemed so surreal. It had to be (that), even though I think it was just in me from the start. I just wanted to perform.