Drawing: Ricardo Chavira and Flor De Liz Perez in The Motherf**ker With The Hat

motherfucker in hat

It would be fair to say that the title of this play caught my attention. The Motherfucker with the Hat is sometimes censored as The Motherf**ker with the Hat and is a play by Pulitzer Prize winning Puerto Rican / American playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis which premiered at Broadway’s Gerald Schoenfeld Thetare in April 2011. Earning six Tony nominations, it was described as a “high octane verbal cage match about love, fidelity and misplaced haberdashery”.

In June this year it received its UK premiere on the Lyttelton stage at the National Theatre, directed by Indhu Rubasingham.

In her four star Guardian review, Susannah Clap commented on “The National’s irritating decision to use asterisks,”as, “both coy and preening on their marketing material”. Stephen Collins continued this theme on the BritishTheatre.com site,”Given the number of times the word “motherfucker is bandied about, along with other sundry expletives, this misplaced sense of propriety is frankly embarrassing. It’s as if The National Theatre is slightly horrified by its choice”. He noted that the play was able to appear on Broadway billboards without asterisks.

Ricardo Chavira (from TVs Desperate Housewives plays former drug dealer Jackie who is on parole and living clean and sober. Flor De Liz Perez (now that’s a moniker to equal the play’s title) is his girlfriend Veronica who “still uses and boozes”. Jackie arrives at Veronica’s cramped Times Square studio apartment “full of good intentions and pent up testosterone”. As they’re jumping into bed he notices a hat… not his hat… so he accuse’s her of cheating which triggers a New York run around.

“Chavira is in bravura form and really squeezes every bit of interest out of his character and the situations. It’s tough, brutal, brooding at its best,” writes Collins. Flor De Liz Perez is, “sexy, vicious, bad tempered foul mouthed and effortlessly libidinous,” as the girl shared by Jackie and the titular hat wearer.

“She spits out offensive abuse with the same rigorous detachment that Julie Andrews enunciates consonants in The Sound of Music. It’s a full throttle performance”.

The National only has one stage door, but a myriad of exits and entrances, so I usually leave the sketch and hope it will be passed on to the respective talent. The productions are also in repertory which means that they are not performed everyday, so you have to plan your drop off carefully.  I left this sketch early in the run when it was on stage over a few days in succession.

When nothing came back I figured I had missed the boat. Then yesterday two weeks after the final performance, this appeared in the mail.

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