Reworking a Coen Bros. movie. into a Shakespearean comedy of errors? Dude stays, dude!


If you’ve ever wondered how The Great Bard would have made one of the Coen Brothers’ most beloved films look no further than the Liberty Theater’s latest production, “William Shakespeare’s Lebowski: Prince of Ninepins.” The curtain goes up on this wacky parody on August 11 in the North Bend venue.

The Coen brothers’ 1998 film ‘The Big Lebowski’ is a dark, slack game involving bowling, ransoms, nihilists and a crumbling carpet that, according to the title character, ‘binds the room together’, known as name of “The Mec.” Incarnated without equal by Jeff Bridges, the Dude multiplies the bizarre escapades.

The cast of ‘Shakespeare’s Lebowski: Prince of Ninepins’ in a publicity photo.

Bryan Coleman / Photo provided by John Beane

In this scene, he meets the main character, the Big Lebowski, played by the late David Huddleston.

Lebowski: “Do you have a job, Mr. Lebowski?”

The guy: Listen, let me explain something to you. I am not Mr. Lebowski; you are Mr Lebowski. I am the guy. So that’s what you call me. That, or Duder. His dudeness. Or El Duderino, if, you know, you don’t like brevity.

Twenty-four years later, “The Big Lebowski” has retained its cult following. And now it’s been reworked as an Elizabethan-style parody that simply has to be experienced.

Sir Walter IV: “So what do you suggest, man?” When you divorce, do you cut out the language that was used to praise the deceased? Should I rip my skin off, man, and never feel the heat of the sun again? Or see it rolling? Doesn’t a divorcee have eyes, man? »

It was Sir Walter IV, the Dude’s combative friend, based on the movie character, Walter. Other reworked characters are Lord Lebowski, Lady Maude and Big Jack of the Treehorn, all part of writer and director John Beane’s hybrid mish-mash.

“You’re going to see influences, if not outright characters, from some of the major Shakespearean plays,” Beane told KLCC. “And some words can be co-opted. But only insofar as it serves Shakespearean Lebowski’s story.

The play made its sold-out debut three years ago in Coos Bay. Fans of The Bard and The Brothers will enjoy elements from the show, including that lost rug that, in Beane’s prose, “turned the room around nicely.”

Beane said one constant is how The Dude skewers the classic “hero’s journey” that is the backbone of most epic tales.

“He’s sort of the anti-hero in terms of this classic arc, in that the dude remains. He actually doesn’t change too much during all these things that happen,” Beane laughed. “And that’s kind of why we’re into him. ‘Cause he’s not a horrible person at all, but he’s kinda funny about some things, you know? »

Beane and his cast hope North Bend audiences will find the fun in this bowling-themed comedy of errors.

“William Shakespeare’s Lebowski: Prince of Ninepins” runs from August 11-20. Details are on the Liberty Theater website.

Copyright @2022, KLCC.


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