Author: Adam Bertocci
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN-10: 1451605811:   ISBN-13: 978-1451605815

Click Here To Purchase Two Gentlemen of Lebowski: A Most Excellent Comedie and Tragical Romance

In 2009, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies jump-started a new literary trend—comic mashups in which, usually, a revered classic is blended with characters from B movie lore. How about Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim, Little Vampire Women, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, or Android Karenina?

Not surprisingly, William Shakespeare has found his way into such fusions as with Romeo and Juliet and Vampires. Taking the whole concept up a notch or two, perhaps, is Adam Bertocci’s Two Gentlemen of Lebowski: A Most Excellent Comedie and Tragical Romance. This time, virtually the entire Shakespeare canon is mashed with the 1998 Cohen brothers cult favorite, The Big Lebowski. The film’s “Dudeism” can be seen in previous books, essays, and a strong viral online presence; the latter will likely provide the bulk of the audience interested in this new mashup. After all, familiarity with the sources being played with is the key to the humor, and if one hasn’t seen The Big Lebowski in some time, or ever, much of the playfulness of this effort will be lost. Fortunately for Bertocci, response to the earlier online posting of this five-act play in verse was so huge, the new print edition should find a built-in readership.

On the other side of the coin, lovers of the Bard can enjoy the word-play drawn from a variety of Shakespeare’s works. Examples are evident in the play’s opening lines:

wayfarer's worlds out west was once a man,

A man I come not to bury, but to praise.

His name was Geoffrey Lebowski call'd, yet

Not called, excepting by his kin.

That which we call a knave by any other name

Might bowl just as sweet. Lebowski, then,

Did call himself'the Knave', a name that I,

Your humble chorus, would not self-apply

In homelands mine; but, then, this Knave was one

From whom sense was a burden to extract,

And of the arid vale in which he dwelt,

Also dislike in sensibility;

Mayhap the very search for sense reveals

The reason it inspires me to odes.

If this sort of thing is your cuppa tea, the print edition features illustrations and, for this reviewer, puzzling footnotes that were apparently added to add some level of humor—or are perhaps just padding. Do we really need straight-forward definitions of “kin” or “knave”? Perhaps I missed the point.

Again, devotees of “Dudeism” will most enjoy this volume, and there are obviously enough of them to interest a major publisher in this effort. I think the most encouraging news is that the genre of mashups has finally begun to leave monsters behind to go into more creative blendings. Without question—more to come.

Click Here To Purchase Two Gentlemen of Lebowski: A Most Excellent Comedie and Tragical Romance