Pulp Shakespeare

Imagine Quentin Tarantino’s classic film Pulp Fiction… that’s exactly what these guys have done!

Imagine Quentin Tarantino’s classic film Pulp Fiction. Now imagine what it would be like if it was written by Shakespeare. This is exactly what Her Majesty’s Secret Players – a theatre group based in Los Angeles – did, and they produced a stage version of Pulp Fiction with a twist.

Pulp Shakespeare re-imagines Tarantino’s rich, dialogue heave crime movie through the lens of Shakespeare and the result is absolutely brilliant. Check out the video below if you do not believe us.

Set in Elizabethan England, this new version tells the story of a pair of murderers, their boss’s intriguing wife and a desperate knight. The play is directed directed by Jordan Monsell, founder and Artistic Director of Her Majesty’s Secret Players; and based on an adaptation by Ben Tallen, Aaron Greer, Chris Adams, Brian Watson-Jones and Jordan Monsell.


This video got us thinking, if Pulp Fiction can be re-imagined as a Shakespearean play, what other films would work if given the reverse Baz Luhrmann treatment, and re-worked as though written by The Bard…


Die Hard

John McTiernan’s classic action film stars Bruce Willis as a New York cop who takes on a group of terrorists in an LA office building. It is easy to see this film working with Elizabethan dialogue; the John McClane character could easily be changed to a knight visiting a distant realm, only to discover a plot against the court. The dialogue of Die Hard contains some fantastic lines, that would translate into iambic pentameter and the action scenes alone would be worth a watch.


Love, Actually

Shakespeare often told tales of romance and intrigue. If the plot of Love, Actually was stripped down to a powerful nation trying to bully another and a doomed love affair – take your pick from the many in the movie – the film would soon change from a lighthearted Christmas movie about love into a political power play and a love that unties the warring factions. Also, Bill Nighy’s Billy Mack would be a fantastic court jester.


Shaun of the Dead

OK, so Shakespeare was long dead when The Great Plague hit London in 1664, but imagine Shaun of the Dead retold as a plague story, with those afflicted coming back to life to infect the living. In order to survive, Shaun, Ed and their friends must avoid the plague-ridden hordes and make their way to a local strong hold, which also happens to be a well-stocked tavern.



Teen coming of age story Superbad involved alcohol, police officers and three horny teenagers; re-imagined in Elizabethan times Seth, Evan and Fogel are teen labourers who develop crushes on the Queen’s ladies in waiting. In order to gain access to the Royal Court – and the inevitable banquet – the three enlist the help of two knights who believe them to be older than they are, and agree to help them to get into the court.


The Royal Tenenbaums

Lord Tenenbaum returns to his family 22 years after he abandoned his wife and children to find that his children’s youthful genius has been worn away by a lifetime of disappointment. Lord Tenenbaum moves into the family home, and fakes an illness, in an attempt to win affection and reunite his family. The complex and tangled relationships between the various members of the family would work perfectly Elizabethan times, Eli Cash’s famous trip on mescaline that leads to a crashed car could work wonderfully as a run away stagecoach and Royal’s mysterious (and fake) illness would be easy to explain.


Now we turn it over to you, our clever readers. Which other movies do you think would work if given a Shakespeare overhaul? Let us know. Oh, and if you are in LA, Pulp Shakespeare is running until March 31st. For more information, see http://hermajestyssecretplayers.com/

Words – Brogen Hayes