His name is Lebowski, but you should call him The Dude. Some thugs peed on The Dude's carpet in an erroneous attempt to collect on a debt, yet woe is he for the thugs encountered the wrong Lebowski. Restitution must be paid, for the rug did indeed tie the room together. This serious issue is the inspiration and pretense for The Primitive Screwheads' upcoming play Much Ado About Lebowski, presented in conjunction with Indie Fest.
The self-described adaptation of an adaptation of a parody of a farce is a fun way to say The Primitive Screwheads reinterpret the 1998 Coen Brothers film The Big Lebowski, as written by William Shakespeare. The mash-up includes other obnoxious Coen Brothers characters inlcuding brothers Gale and Evelle Snoats from the 1987 film Raising Arizona. The added characters are an extra dose of comic relief who are, as Claire Sands (Maud) tells me, "just one more thing for The Knave (The Dude) to have to deal with in the shit-storm that is his life at the moment." Well said.
For those unfamiliar with the volunteer-based theater group, The Primitive Screwheads parody horror and other movies that strike their fancy. Director and co-founder Sean Madeira says The Primitive Screwheads is a pretty loose company. Half of the 14 players in Much Ado About Lebowski are Screwheads and the other half hail from elsewhere. Screwheads separate themselves from other comedy-based groups by breaking down the fourth wall and demand audience participation, wanted or not. Fights between characters spill into the seats; players die or dance in audience members' laps.
The productions feature a lot of stage blood, which splatters both players and audience. During a Much Ado About Lebowski rehearsal, Pete Lynch (The Dude or The Knave) told me that past audience members have gotten so psyched up that they wear all white in anticipation. If they do not walk out covered in fake blood, disappointment ensues. Not to worry, those who wish to protect their clothing can acquire complimentary panchos, surgical hats, masks, and booties in the lobby. Dedication is obvious; the players chip in and clean up the bloody theater after each performance.
Expect four live minstrels, a dancing Greek chorus, bowling balls, White Russians -- The Dude's drink of choice, and, of course, blood, lots of blood.
The Primitive Screwheads' production of Much Ado About Lebowski runs June 24-27, 2010 at Cell Space and July 9-10 & 16-17 at the Off Market Theater in San Francisco. For tickets and information, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/110384