Tina Fey’s Mean Girls gets a Shakespearean script treatment.
As in the 2004 film, home-schooled teenager Cady Heron leaves Africa with her anthropologist parents and enters American high school, where she first spies on popular Plastics-leader Regina George, then emulates the queen bee, alienating her newfound real friends, Damian and Janis, and crush, Aaron. No mere novelization of the movie (itself based on a nonfiction book), it embraces Elizabethan theater conventions, with Doescher (Jedi the Last, 2018, etc.) translating cinematic tropes and tricks into their early modern equivalents—asides, chorus, and balcony scenes. Blatantly lifting speeches from the Bard, other lines swing between jarringly modern and pseudo-Shakespearean, with the juxtaposition played for comedic effect. The iambic pentameter (mostly prose) usually works, in style if not in syntax. Purists may scoff, but this play attempts and mostly succeeds at reviving Shakespeare as popular entertainment for the masses. Audiences already familiar with the film’s plots, memorable lines, and pop-culture references will be well-equipped to tackle the Shakespearean treatment rather than facing an impenetrable thicket of academic allusions, archaic language, history lessons, and Latin grammar jokes. However, the author’s afterword assertion that “Shakespeare’s female characters were never as strong as those of Tina Fey’s creation” better befits the Burn Book’s slander.
Creating a modern Shakespeare play is no Mean feat. (dramatis personae, afterword, sonnet) (Fiction. 12-18)