Actors are going medieval — well, Elizabethan — on “Pulp Fiction” with the aid of Shakespeare.
The Hermes Theatre company is producing “Classic Pulp Fiction,” a play based on the 1994 Quentin Tarantino film, but with a sixteenth-century setting and Shakespearean language.
Rona Wright, director of “Bard Fiction,” said Shakespeare is an icon of the theatre community, while “Pulp Fiction” is a well-known contemporary film.
“We want to reach outside of the theatre community, we want to reach people who don’t normally come to see theatre,” she said. “I think there is a shortage of unsafe theatre — taking risks and chances — and I think that’s where we are all copacetic.”
Rona Wright, one of the founding members of Hermes Theatre company and director of “Bard Fiction,” gives direction to auditioners at The Kosmos on Saturday. “Bard Fiction” will be presented from July 26 and to Aug. 9 at The Kosmos.
Using a popular movie known for its dialogue as a basis is a great way for people to learn to understand the language of Shakespeare, she said.
“Most of the dialogue is drawn straight from the movie, and just kind of shaken up, twisted in a very Elizabethan-Shakespearean way,” Wright said.
The feel of the play may be a little different, she said, but the overall scenario will be what audeinces expect from the Tarantino movie.
Wright has directed plays before, she said, and all of them come with their own sets of challenges.
“Right now it’s finding a cast, getting the best people to fit into these roles,” she said, “It’s more difficult to get the word out because we are a new company, we’re small, and we want to have a very community-minded feel.”
Wright is still searching for the perfect actors to play Lord Marcellus Wallace, Vincenzio de la Vega, Lady Mia Wallace and several other parts, she said.
“The biggest thing actors need in this play is chemistry,” she said. “Because everyone knows these characters, they need to be able to pull their interactions off believably.”
Jennae Pinnell, who plays Honey Bunny, said she is primarily an improv actress and felt that this type of risk-taking theatre would be a great place for her style.
“This place and these people seemed like the best fit for me,” Pinnell said. “This is what I wanted to do for living, or at least as a heavy side project.”
Pinnell had avoided Tarantino movies, she said, and has only recently seen Pulp Fiction for the first time.
“I love Shakespeare, I love movies, but I never saw them combined until I saw the script for this play,” she said.
The writers of “Bard Fiction” did a good job of adapting the dialogue from the film to the Shakespearean tongue, she said.
“They must have done their research hardcore, because it’s flawless,” Pinnell said. “Right now it looks like Shakespeare wrote Pulp Fiction.”
Matthew Miller, an actor auditioning for “Bard Fiction,” said he was surprised at how loose the audition process was for this play.
“I felt like the actors were supposed to come in knowing what to say, or how to do each scene, but that wasn’t the case,” he said.
Being able to adapt to each scene quickly was a challenge, he said, but that is what they are looking for in their actors.
“I think that the dialogue totally adds to Tarantino’s play on words, because there is humor in it being Shakespeareanized,” Miller said.
Seeing the cursing and murder in a formal Shakespearean setting is what makes this play unique for audiences, he said.
“We all want to do this play — it’s not something that we were told to do, it’s not forced at all,” Miller said.
July 26 – Aug. 9
1715 5th St. N.W.
Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $15 General Admission, $10 students
To audition for “Bard Fiction,” or for more information email email@example.com.