If your Hamilton addiction has you hankering for more hip hop theater, you’re gonna love this. There’s a New York Public Theater project called BARS Medley and it’s putting a contemporary spin on literary classics like Pride and Prejudice. We’ve seen our fair share of eccentric adaptations of the Jane Austin classic over the years, but this updated version of Pride and Prejudice might be our favorite. (Or not, there are so many good ones to choose from, least of all the book and film adaptations of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.) So you kind of have to wonder — how did it take so long to get a hip hop interpretation?
Luckily, it turns out that this one was well worth the wait.
BARS Medley’s Pride and Prejudice
“I’m above you, but I still love you,” raps Mr. Darcy. “If the whole world besides the two of us died, I’d side with extinction over being your bride,” Elizabeth Bennet later retorts.
Here’s the really cool part: this performance was actually a live student showcase for the BARS Workshop. The workshop, devised by Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs and Def Poetry’s Rafael Casal, describes itself as: “for the rapper who wants to step into theater, or actor who wants to incorporate rap into their wheelhouse – this gets you firmly at the center. Develop rap, rhythmic narrative, spoken word and improvisation skills to bring yourself to the forefront of the next evolution in contemporary theater.”
Just a few of the course topics covered in the BARS workshop: history of oral tradition, rap as form, and writing in verse. It all sounds pretty intense, but also incredibly cool.
Pride and Prejudice isn’t the only awesome classic reimagined in the BARS Medley performance.
A few other favorites include The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.
BARS Medley’s The Great Gatsby
BARS Medley’s The Catcher in the Rye
BARS Medley’s Things Fall Apart
If these performances are anything to go on, we’re incredibly excited to see the next generation of hip hop theater talent.