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Bard Fiction

A Shakespearean translation by Ben Tallen, Aaron Greer,bardfic logo

Brian Watson-Jones, and the members of the Pulp Bard Wiki.

Directed by Christopher Kidder-Mostrom

Produced by Commedia Beauregard

At City Lit Theater, Chicago

Horrible enunciation together with fake accents marred spoof of cult film and Shakespeare

I must remember to read a press release more closely. upon seeing the word “commedia,” I thought Bard Fiction would be a commedia dell’ arte styled comedy. That 16th century art form is a fine theatrical experience. However, Bard Fiction is anything but that. Once I’m in the theatre, I don’t read the press info until after the show so I can get the same experience as a patron.

What I saw at City Lit in Bard Fiction was a comic spoof of the 1994 film Pulp Fiction by using a Shakespearean retelling utilizing Elizabethan English in a vain attempt garner laughs by combining the Bard’s language with elements of a violent Quentin Tarantino cult film. Add the players sporting modern accents such as Brooklyn, Spanish, French, American Southern with an amazing utilization of the worst enunciation of Shakespearean rhythms I’ve ever heard together with loads of swallowed words, mumbling and too-fast-talking patterns and I could NOT understand 90% of what was said in this two hour plus torture.

The audience was divided into those who laughed and those (me included) who just look perplexed due to not understanding a thing that was spoken. I dare say that even if I could understand all the garbed speech, the film references escaped me and most of the audience. Who remembers details of a 1994 film, especially one with a nonlinear storyline even if it had John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson?

The large cast was amazing in that not one of them pronounced and articulates properly the language with Steven Royce and Josh Zaforen as the worst offenders of in-articulation. Using the Bard’s language to¬† satirize a cult film is a bad idea and with a cast of mumblers a total disaster. Skip this tedious bore.

Not Recommend

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: July 10, 2015

For more info checkout the Bard Fiction page at

At Cit Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn mawr, Chicago, IL