Retelling Pride & Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

Well Played‘s plot is a retelling of Pride & Prejudice — this much is obvious if you’ve read the book or seen the many film and TV versions or read Well Played’s description!

A disclaimer: for Well Played I used Pride & Prejudice more as a device to structure the novel rather than a beat-for-beat reproduction. It was extremely helpful in getting me to my end goal: always a difficulty since I’m not much for doing outlines!

Other retellings of Jane Austen’s 1813 masterpiece include Bridget Jones’ Diary, the book that inspired me to get into contemporary romance writing; The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a YouTube web series that seriously got me hooked this summer; and Bride & Prejudice, a Bollywood version.  And yes, Pride & Prejudice and Zombies.

I think the Pride & Prejudice plot is such a classic that it’s become THE archetypal romantic comedy template; the plot beats and the characters are so sharply defined they can be translated from Regency England to 1990s London, Tumblr-era Texas, India and, in my version, at a campus at the foothills of Mt. Makiling in Laguna, Philippines.

Part of the fun of retelling this classic story is figuring out how to reinterpret the characters for a different milieu. How would spunky and smart Lizzie Bennet be as a college student and athlete? How would I translate Mrs. Bennet’s desperate search for husbands for her girls to a post-feminist world? And which characters do I keep? For me, the hardest to let go of was pompous, silly Mr. Collins. It would have been fun to add him into my mix, but ultimately I had to choose keeping a trim and light novella over his antics.

What if you’ve never bothered with Austen before? Because the plot is so timeless and so adaptable, even people who are not familiar with the original can still enjoy how it unfolds. I first became familiar with Pride & Prejudice through the 2005 Kiera Knightley and Matthew MacFayden movie, which I saw on HBO; probably like most of the people who encountered it 200 years ago, I too shook my fist at the cad Wickham, got exasperated with Lydia, thrilled at the Darcy developments at Rosings and clamored for the proposal. It was as if I wished I hadn’t seen it so I could experience watching it again for the first time! Something that good and that affecting will endure through the years.

So how does Pride & Prejudice translate into a specific Pinoy college experience? Get Well Played to find out!

About Author: Katrina Ramos Atienza

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