By Samia Afsar
It’s time to forget “live, laugh, love.” Lies, loyalty, and lust are the common themes you will reflect on in the BC Theater Department’s production of “The Motherf*cker With the Hat,” a play by Stephen Adly Guirgis and directed by the head of BFA in Acting, Patrick Sabongui.
The play, which opened on Sept. 30, is set in modern-day New York City. However, the nostalgic set design and apparel may have one wondering whether this play was set in the late 90s.
Guirgis’ story revolves around Jackie (Brendan Ahmed), a dapper Puerto Rican and recovering alcoholic fresh out of jail, who’s ready to settle down and propose to his long-term girlfriend and active drug user, Veronica (Madison Tamayo).
As Jackie awaits his girlfriend to get out of the shower for a night of celebratory sex after he finally secures a job since being released, he gets down on one knee to practice his proposal, but after spotting an unfamiliar hat on their breakfast table, his act of charades is over before it even began.
Seeing the hat sends Jackie into a fit of spiraling jealousy, leading him to accuse Veronica of cheating. This steers the two to get into a heated argument where it soon becomes clear to the audience – infidelity is not the prime issue in this relationship.
At this point, “The Motherf*cker With the Hat” almost switches gears from simply observing a complicated couple to a game of “Guess Who,” having the audience members so fully immersed that they impatiently await the hat owner’s reveal.
Throughout the entirety of the play, Jackie frantically enlists the help of his AA sponsor, Ralph (Edward Wosu), and his cousin Julio (Silvio Francisco), with whom he is often bombarded with lectures on the importance of God, family, and sobriety. Together, the three beautifully, and sometimes even comically, make this play a tale heavy on the subjects of honor, community, and betrayal.
Although Guirgis’ brilliant writing perfectly encapsulated the struggles one faces on the road to deciding to become sober, it was the BC actors that truly stole the show. The cast’s performance impressively oozed passion and sincerity, not once becoming dull or unenthused during the entirety of the nearly two hour long show.
The set, which had the ability to spin and showcase different locations when needed, was a nice touch of theatrics that was so gracefully rehearsed that it never once served as a distraction. In fact, during most set changes, the actors remained on stage in character, aiding the audience to keep their focus on what was truly important – the story.
Perhaps the beauty of the BC Theater Deptartment’s adaptation of “The Motherf*cker With the Hat” is that even through the complexities of portraying such strong themes, the play still maintains an almost serene and welcoming aura. From the start, it is evident that the actors and crew have put a tremendous amount of effort into producing the show and are ever so thankful that the audience is present, celebrating their work alongside them.
Guirgis’ play is a beautifully captivating story that reminds one that it is, in fact, okay to be flawed. It will have you laughing, engrossed, and on the edge of your seat, awaiting to uncover who really is the motherf*cker with the hat.