Take one part Tarantino classic Pulp Fiction, add in an equal measure of Shakespeare, and stir. What you get is Bard Fiction, a play which presents many iconic scenes of Tarantino’s classic film as if they had been written for the stage by Shakespeare.
Anyhow, the plot of the play follows the script of Pulp Fiction and the humour of Bard Fiction comes from watching these familiar scenes and seeing how they come out once they’re run through the Bardifier.
(The Bardifier is a complex series of linguistic algorithms codes and supervised by writers Aaron Greer, Ben Tallen & Brian Watson-Jones. It’s a complicated machine. We don’t really understand how it works, and maybe it’s just magic. But we can guarantee that it does work. Trust us!)
Out of the gate, the play is uproariously funny.
The effect of knowing exactly how the scene is going to play out but being surprised at every turn by Shakespearean turn of phrases tickles both the early 90s film freak and the Shakespeare nerd in you. In fact, it’s amazing how little impact the shift from Tarantino’s language to Shakespeare’s actually has on the pacing of the scenes. Did the writers discover the inherently Bardic soul at the heart of Pulp Fiction?
Next come Vincent and Jules (short for Vincenzio and Julius of course), riding in their horse-drawn cart. taking about the differences between England and France. Cue the bardifier! You put in Big Mac and Royale with cheese and out comes Cottage pie or hachis parementier.
See? I told you it works!
This is damned funny stuff, at least at first.
As the novelty starts to wear off though, Bard Fiction becomes less uproariously funny and more, well, just plain funny. Thankfully, the writers realised this as well so instead of getting a recreation of the whole film, Bard Fiction presents a sort of greatest hits and runs a little over an hour.
It’s still really entertaining right up to the end but by the end of the play, that pony’s run about as far as this idea can take.
Still, is there anything more Bard brawl-tastic then the idea behind Bard Fiction? It’s definitely in the spirit of the Bard Brawl and ‘Zounds! which means that if you like either of these two things, you’ll have a great time with this play.
Bard Fiction isn’t a deep exploration of the state of Shakespeare in the 21st century or a thoroughly researched and cogent analysis of the construction of dialogue in the early 90s films of Quentin Tarantino.
It’s just a whole lot of fun and goes to show that the theatre, and Shakespeare’s theatre, doesn’t need to be elitist hard to get into.
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