Monetizing Emma

By Felix Salmon
August 20, 2010
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? That's easy: Pride and Prejudice and Structured Finance! Which is essentially the theme of Monetizing Emma, a play which I finally got around to seeing at the New York Fringe festival last night. As playwright Felipe Ossa puts it:

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What’s scarier than Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? That’s easy: Pride and Prejudice and Structured Finance! Which is essentially the theme of Monetizing Emma, a play which I finally got around to seeing at the New York Fringe festival last night. As playwright Felipe Ossa puts it:

Girls have always been involved in economic compromises. We wanted to pose the question: In the 21st century, would a mother be marrying her daughter off to a suitor, or to the marketplace?

The play displays a lot of sophistication about structured finance, as you might expect from a playwright who has also written for the International Financing Review. It’s also very funny and sharply written, which you might not. And, lots of Jane Austen!

I went to see it with someone who knows pretty much nothing about high finance, and she loved it, but the finance-geek in-jokes are great too. Go for the Paris Hilton jokes, stay for the close reading of a bond prospectus. It turns out to be dramatically much more riveting than you could possibly expect, and the sold-out audience of downtown New Yorkers last night loved it.

(Incidentally, the theme of the play is a financial instrument not dissimilar to the jock exchange that Michael Lewis promised us back in 2007. Whatever happened to that?)

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Hal Hartley made a film a few years back, The Girl From Monday, in which people are routinely securitised. It wasn’t all that interested in the finance geekery though.

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