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October 23, 2014

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Shakespeare + The Dude = ‘Two Gentlemen of Lebowski’

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The Dude…

Funny, right? Las Vegas’ own Atlas Theatre Ensemble—and lots of theaters around the country—thought so, too. Atlas had planned to open the unauthorized parody of the cult classic Coen Bros. comedy tonight at the Stage Door Theatre at Town Square.

Here’s why you’re not going to see Two Gentlemen of Lebowski this weekend, or anytime soon. The Atlas version would have been one of the first staged productions of the play, which began as a Facebook post by Adam Bertocci, a 27-year-old underemployed screenwriter. Bored one weekend “while everyone else was seeing Avatar,” Bertocci “translated’ some famous lines from The Big Lebowski into iambic pentameter, then spent a weekend transposing the film script into Elizabethan dialect (the Dude became the Knave, for instance).

So the classic rug scene becomes:

WOO: Rise, and speak wisely, man—but hark; I see thy rug, as woven i’ the Orient, a treasure from abroad. I like it not. I’ll stain it thus; ever thus to deadbeats. [He stains the rug]

THE KNAVE: Sir, prithee nay!

Bertocci (rhymes with Versace) put the script online in January, and it became something of a Web sensation, championed by bloggers for USA Today and Boing Boing. But Bertocci was recently contacted by a law firm representing the brothers Coen, asking that he remove the script from his Facebook page, and that productions be stopped until some sort of settlement is reached. So, no Lebowski for you, Las Vegas. Come to think of it, local Achievers are due for another Lebowski Fest—the last one here was in 2004.

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