A special iambic slam for Brody Theater’s “Anon”

A poetic admonition in the improv troupe's chosen classical form.

If regular people could talk like Shakespeare, the whole world wouldn’t still be referencing the fusty old books.

Still, the intrepid improv actors of Brody Theater are determined to try. Last weekend at the Outdoor Shakespeare Festival, they presented the pseudo-Elizabethan “Anon & On & On,” an attempt to improvise a brand-new Shakespeare-style script live in iambic pentameter. They even prefaced the show with a demonstration of the classical sonnet form. From there, they quickly began to bomb. Often stunned and tongue-tied, the actors broke the rhyme scheme more times than they honored it, with painful pauses in between. Even this attempt at poetry eventually degraded into improv hack staples: repetition and d-ck jokes.

Waiting for the torture to end, I began to wonder: “Just how hard IS this thing that they’re trying?” I decided to try it too, and hastily penned an iambic slam of the half-baked show I was seeing. My fellow judges, who got a kick out of it when I passed it around, have cosigned the following rhyme in lieu of any festival prizes:


Oh players dear, if I may make so bold,

my station being but a weekend’s judge,

and yet a cruel critique I must unfold

for this, thy comp’ny’s un-rehearsĂ©d sludge.


Experiments by nature never know

what boon, or aye, what dearth, they mayest yield,

but as thou didst unfurl thy dragging show,

I cannot say for aught but thou hast failed.


With rhythms hast thy company played loose,

as if the great “iamb” had earned thy scorn,

instead repeating one word thrice, forsooth,

and this poor rhyme left patience sorely worn.


“Anon, & On, & On,”

Your players prattle on.


A practice then? A party for your friends?

Amongst a few, this act is known as “LARP,”

that player, but not audience, attends,

the tender bud, but not the fruit, of art.


I must attest your character is strong,

and those among you deep commit to mood,

but short of words, you do your tempers wrong,

like spices furnished fully without food.


And still the Brody schedule stretcheth forth,

with versions of thy craft yet offered thrice,

for which we must suggest, though canst enforce,

a bit of extra practice might be nice.


and even as we cluck,

we wish you naught but luck.

Read about the Outdoor Shakespeare Festival Awards >>>


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