The long line outside the theatre attested to the popularity of Pulp Shakespeare as we filed in out of the cold to Theatre Asylum in Hollywood. Presented by Her Majesty's Secret Players and Combined Artform, this smash hit has been sold out on many nights.
We live in a society of cross genres and combinations. The fusion creates many new creations. As many Shakespearian plays are updated, the creators of Pulp Shakespeare wondered what could be Shakespear-ized. Pulp Fiction worked on many levels. The text of the original movie was rich with witty conversation and often with only two characters in the room - so, too, did this play accomplish what it sort out to do.
Adapted by Ben Tallen, Aaron Greer, Chris Adams, Ben Watson- James, and Jordon Monsell this brilliantly done play is set in Elizabethan England. Using kidney pie, ale and swords for automatic pistols, this appealing play is essentially a line by line transposition of Tarrentino's dialogue into Tutor-ese telling the story of the two. Your experience will be heightened if you are familiar with the film, but it is not a pre-requisite. The story can easily stand on its own.
Adding to the enjoyment of the play, everything, from my limited historical knowledge, appeared to be authentic and accurate down the dance number.
The acting was superb with the diction and enunciation worthy of Shakespeare. Dan White/Ian Verdun played Julius Winfield, while Aaron Lyons/Vince Tula take the part of Vincent de la Vega. Nathaniel Freeman was excellent as Lord Marcellus Wallace. Ryan Vincent Anderson also, at times, played the Lord Marcellus. Many of the actors had dual roles and pulled them off amazingly - Brett Colbeth/Jim Kane played Pumpkin Pie and Lance; Gowrie Hayden/Alison Mosier play Meadsweet and Jody; Curtis D Davis/Nick Ryan play Norman, Marvin and Scottish Dave; Dave Lautman played Roger, Waiter 2 and Zed while Juan Perez played Brittanius, Maynard and Norman. Christian Levantino played Sir "Butch" Coolridge and Ashley Prather/Sierra Fisk/Courtney Kocak/Dana Pollak play Lady Mia Wallace. Sara Jo Elice played Fabianne, Gertrude and Tavern Wench as did Ashleigh Prather/ Justine Woodford. Waiter 1 and Captain Coones was played by Jordan Monsell/ Evans Forde while the Sprint, Harold, Claudio and Gimp was played by John Klopping/Michael Rachliss.
Equally important in any play are the below the line workers - the stage manager (Joy Dabbs); lighting design (Aaron Lyons), sound design (Brian Weiss); costume design (Kelly Bailey); costume supervisor (Justine Woodford), music arrangements (Todd Marshall and Bill Weiss), vocals (Brink Norton); set construction (Mark Carson); fight choreography (Aaron Lyons); fight captain (Gowrie Hayden); dance choreography (Stephanie Pease); and poster design and director (Jordan Monsello.)
Of course we can't forget the producers, without which the play would never have been, Damien Burke, Jordon Monsell, Aaron Lyons and Matthew Quinn.
Both Mr. Shakespeare and Mr. Tarantino would be proud. If you love Pulp Fiction - you'll love Pulp Shakespeare.
The play runs until March 4, 2012 with performances Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm. Tickets are $25 at the door with a special $5 discount for AEA/SAG/Seniors and Students. On line tickets are only $20. Go to www.combinedartform.com or www.hermajestyssecretplayers.org or www.pulpshakespeare.com.