When I took The Girl to America in 2008, an old friend of mine showed me his writing project -- he and his online collaborators were rewriting the film “Pulp Fiction” as a Shakespearean play.
If you’re familiar with the movie, you probably remember the early scene where two hit men, played by Samuel Jackson and John Travolta, discuss one character’s recent trip to Europe.
VINCENT: You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?
JULES: They don't call it a Quarter Pounder with Cheese?
VINCENT: No, they got the metric system there, they wouldn't know what a Quarter Pounder is.
JULES: So what did they call it?
VINCENT: Royale with Cheese.
JULES: Royale with Cheese. What'd they call a Big Mac?
VINCENT: Well, a Big Mac's a Big Mac, but over there it’s Le Big Mac.
JULES: What do they call a Whopper?
VINCENT: I dunno, I didn't go into a Burger King.
Now this is the Shakespearean version they created:
VINCENT: And know'st thou what the French name cottage pie?
JULIUS: Say they not cottage pie, in their own tongue?
VINCENT: But nay, their tongues, for speech and taste alike
Are strange to ours, with their own history:
Gaul knoweth not a cottage from a house.
JULIUS: What say they then, pray?
VINCENT: Hachis Parmentier.
JULIUS: Hachis Parmentier! What name they cream?
VINCENT: Cream is but cream, only they say la crème.
JULIUS: What do they name black pudding?
VINCENT: I know not;
I visited no inn where't could be bought.
This past summer, I revisited Minnesota to spend time with friends, conduct interviews and give some lectures at a university and a church. I saw my friend again, and found that he and his collaborators had turned the project into a full stage play – Bard Fiction. They submitted it to the Minnesota Fringe Festival, were accepted, and performed it for thousands of people.
I got one of the last tickets of the last show, and while the Girl was happily ensconced with my friends’ children, and rushed to the theatre and managed to get a front-row seat.
They were the hit of the festival, made the cover of the local weekly paper City Pages and the Arts section of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and were called back for an encore performance. I told him they should try to take it to Broadway.
P.S.: Any nominations for other current works that could be made "classical?"