Welcome Guest | Register | Login

'Jester's Dead' creators talk 'Top Gun' and Shakespeare at 2010 Philly Fringe Festival

"Bookmark



After a year and a half of hard work and endless preparation, Nat Rhett HenckelMcIntyre and Nat McIntyreRhett Henckel (pictured) – two veterans of the Old Globe Theatre  in San Diego - will finally see a private joke become a reality: Top Gun, Shakespeare style. Jester’s Dead, a production done as part of Philly Fringe  and directed by Suzana Berger, is a tongue-in-cheek meeting of The Bard and the 80’s cult classic that promises nothing but good fun.

After all, “Top Gun is a Shakespearean movie, at the core,” said McIntyre, “It is Henry V, it is Hamlet – but we don’t use language the way we used to, so we’re using Shakespeare to parody it.”

The notion of Shakespeare and Top Gun emerged in a February 2009 get-together organized by Henckel and McIntyre via e-mail, to which Berger was invited. “I’d just met Nat three days before,” she said, “and then I get an e-mail saying ‘We’re going to get together in somebody’s living room in Bushwick, and we’re gonna read The Scottish Play (or maybe Top Gun)’…and I thought it was a joke! I totally thought it was a joke, and I got there, and they had printed out the Jester’s Dead will run from Friday, September 3rd until Saturday, September 11th at the Latvian Society of Philadelphia (531 North 7th Street, between Spring Garden and Greene St.)screenplay of Top Gun for everybody!”

After several early permutations, ranging from Top Gun lines done in Bardic fashion to a “Shakespeare Improv Troupe” - which would decide both the work being performed (Hamlet or Top Gun) and the roles each actor played by coin toss – they settled on the present combination, and began the work of adapting Top Gun as a Shakespearean play.

The translation of film to stage proved challenging, but the most daunting problem wasn’t the fight scenes, or the flying – it was… the music? McIntyre noted the difficulty, saying, “I think one of the biggest challenges has been the music, because music is such an important part of the film, and if you’re going to parody the film, you have to do the music. It needed to be a nod to Shakespeare with the music, and it couldn’t just be 'Take My Breath Away’.”

As such, they opted to do it in true Bardic fashion – live. “We’ve added new cast members that brought a lot of musical talent, so there’s a lot of music, and it’s all live,” said Berger.

They were mum on the approach to re-creating Top Gun’s flight sequences, but mentioned that, at one point or another, creative interpretations were used – ranging from chases and flag football to, erm, yoga. (Rest assured, however; the beach volleyball scene remains intact.)

Jester’s Dead will run from Friday, September 3rd until Saturday, September 11th at the Latvian Society of Philadelphia (531 North 7th Street, between Spring Garden and Greene St.)

For detailed performance and ticket information, visit www.jestersdead.org