The Motherfucker With The Hat – Studio Theatre

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“The Motherfucker With The Hat”, which is currently playing at Studio Theatre, explores the various relationships of Jackie in the aftermath of a fight with his girlfriend Veronica. Jackie, who has recently been released from jail, comes home after landing a job and is excited to celebrate with Veronica and as she is preparing he notices a hat on the floor, a hat that isn’t his. The show then spirals into the aftermath of the fight between Jackie and Veronica and involves his AA sponsor, the smooth talking, long time sober, surfing, and health drink selling Ralph D., Ralph’s wife Victoria, and Jackie’s cousin Julio. The show explores the complicated and intertwined relationships between the characters and how these relationships developed and are influenced by the characters current or past history of abuse of alcohol and drugs. The premise may sound like a hard-hitting downer of a drama, but this is a dramedy at its best. The tenor of the show is established from the very opening scene when Veronica is on a cell phone with her mother as she cleans the apartment, snorts some cocaine, and trashes her mother’s boyfriend.

The show is carried by an excellent cast from top bottom with each actor truly connecting with their character. The performances alone make the show worthwhile, never mind the excellent script they had to work with. The primary relationship in the show is the one between Jackie and Ralph D, as he uses his zen like approach to life to guide Jackie away from falling back into the pattern of drug and alcohol abuse and violence that has dictated his entire life, including his relationship with Veronica. Of course, it would not be much of a show if there weren’t twists and turns along the way. Especially considering the show is stocked with characters whose moralities are at best in shades of grey. The one exception to that may be Cousin Julio, who in many respects was the heart of show as he was the one character that seems to behave outside of his own personal self-interest in the immediate moment. The other characters appear to create moralities for themselves that justify their behavior without having to truly stand up and take responsibility for their actions. This is probably best exemplified in the climax of the show where . . . well, I don’t want to ruin the climax of the show. This is also a show that doesn’t neatly wrap up the story of each character, but closes a chapter in Jackie’s life as he still continues to struggle with his penchant for violence and desire for sobriety.

If you are already considering seeing a show called “The Motherfucker With the Hat” you probably don’t need this warning, but the show contains a lot of foul language, some stage violence, and some nudity. But please don’t let any of that scare you away, because it is well worth the time.

Upcoming Shows in February: Our Town at Ford’s, Glengarry Glen Ross at Roundhouse, Metamorphoses at Arena Stage, Hughie at STC’s Lansburgh Theatre, and The Convert at Woolly. Follow on twitter @RussellWaxman for when those reviews become available…or just check back here. Our Town should be up by the end of this week.

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