What if…William Shakespeare had written The Big Lebowski?
The Dude has met the Bard—and he doth abide.
Join “The Knave” and Sir Walter on a wild tale of mistaken identity, kidnapping, bowling, and a rug that, in faith, really tied the room together—in a sidesplitting Shakespearean comedy of errors and ninepins, told in five glorious acts of iambic pentameter and impeccable period prose.
Already a theatrical hit and a worldwide viral phenomenon, Two Gentlemen of Lebowski comes alive anew in this definitive and lavishly illustrated edition, featuring recently discovered historical engravings, scholarly annotations, and a revelatory afterword from the author.
—Scott Shuffitt, cofounding Dude of LebowskiFest and coauthor of I’m a Lebowski, You’re a Lebowski
“A blast to read.”
“Oh my God . . . This is so good.”
—The New Republic
“Classic lines and scenes now become even more epic.”
“Gadzooks, methinks ’tis all as fine a way to waste an hour or so as I have come across in these four seasons.”
“The mash-up that toke its time in coming.”
—Time Out New York
“Proves that Shakespearean sharp-tongued eloquence is nifty even in the 21st century, if wielded correctly. The play also proved that [The Big Lebowski] was quite Shakespearean to begin with.”
—Inside New York
“Should be quite the what-have-you.”
“Arguably one of the most inventive pieces ever created.”
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Act 1, Scene 1
THE KNAVE’s house. Enter THE KNAVE, carrying parcels, and BLANCHE and WOO. They fight.
Whither the money, Lebowski? Faith, we are as servants to Bonnie; promised by the lady good that thou in turn were good for’t.
Bound in honour, we must have our bond; cursed be our tribe if we forgive thee.
Let us soak him in the chamber-pot, so as to turn his head.
Aye, and see what vapourises; then he will see what is foul.
They insert his head into the chamber-pot.
What dreadful noise of waters in thine ears! Thou hast cool’d thy head; think now upon drier matters.
Speak now on ducats else again we’ll thee duckest; whither the money, Lebowski?
Faith, it awaits down there someplace; prithee let me glimpse again.
What, thou rash egg! Thus will we drown thine exclamations.
They again insert his head into the chamber-pot.
Trifle not with the fury of two desperate men. Long has thy wife sealed a bond with Jaques Treehorn; as blood is to blood, surely thou owest to Jaques Treehorn in recompense.
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; to deadbeats ever thus.
He stains the rug.
Sir, prithee nay!
Now thou seest what happens, Lebowski, when the agreements of honourable business stand compromised. If thou wouldst treat money as water, flowing as the gentle rain from heaven, why, then thou knowest water begets water; it will be a watery grave your rug, drown’d in the weeping brook. Pray remember, Lebowski.
Thou err’st; no man calls me Lebowski. Hear rightly, man!—for thou hast got the wrong man. I am the Knave, man; Knave in nature as in name.
Thy name is Lebowski. Thy wife is Bonnie.
Zounds, man. Look at these unworthiest hands; no gaudy gold profanes my little hand. I have no honour to contain the ring. I am a bachelor in a wilderness. Behold this place; are these the towers where one may glimpse Geoffrey, the married man? Is this a court where mistresses of common sense are hid? Not for me to hang my bugle in an invisible baldric, sir; I am loath to take a wife, or she to take me until men be made of some other mettle than earth. Hark, the lid of my chamber-pot be lifted!
Search his satchel! His words are a fantastical banquet to work pell-mell havoc and confusion upon his enemies. There sits eight pounds of proof within.
Villainy! Why this confounded orb, such as men use to play at ninepins; what devilry, these holes in holy trinity?
Obviously thou art not a colfer.
Then thou art a man to carry ball in his sack? Thou varlet, a plague upon your house; I return thine orb to earth.
He drops the ball.
Thy floor cracks in haste, sir; thou art not a man of ample foundation. Woo?
Speak, friend; I am but of droplets.
Was this not a man of moneys and repute? Did not Treehorn speak of chalcedony halls, and three chests of gold, as was hard food for Midas? What think’st thou?
O undistinguish’d man! We are deceived; this man has put not money in his purse.
Weep not for grief of my own sustaining, sir. At least I am house-broken, none to break the houses of others.
If dog you are, in time you’ll have your day;
Waste time, but Jaques Treehorn will you pay.