Through April 2|
THE MOTHER**KER WITH THE HAT Road Less Traveled Productions/RLTP Theater
By Augustine Warner
So many people have two halves to their personalities, good and bad.
That’s Ralph D (Greg Howze) in “The Motherf**ker With the Hat.”
It’s a look at five-interlinked characters dealing with life, substances, sex and love, or maybe lust.
He’s a guy dealing with 15 years of sobriety and knows all the theories and the buzz words to help him stay on those 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, while surrounded and hanging out with users.
Ralph and his wife have a small food business operated out of their apartment, somewhere in New York City.
The play revolves around three-apartments in different parts of New York, using one set from Lynne Koscielniak changed by bric-a-brac to make the place look differently, even opening different doors on set.
We meet Ralph’s home and wife Victoria (Rosa Fernandez); Cousin Julio’s place (Rolando Martίn Gómez); and, Veronica’s (Melinda Capeles-Rowe), which she shares with Jackie (Anthony Alcocer), a recently out of prison dealer with a hair trigger temper and a close friend with an armory.
All the bad things revolve around that hat, left behind in Ronnie’s apartment and found by Jackie who suspects, correctly, someone has been filling the space in her bed while he was “Upstate” and suspects incorrectly who it was.
He reacts with a gun, eventually triggering a return to “Upstate.”
Koscielniak also helps set the apartments in different parts of New York by using those signs so prevalent in subway stations, listing the name and all the rail lines which run through that station and heading to different destinations.
You can’t even describe these five as good people, although they may be common in their difficulties getting along in an expensive city while sustaining relationships, marriages and drug habits.
Playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis has structured the show as a series of one-on-one confrontations which cut to the bone and expose each character for what he or she is, while often being very, very funny, almost gallows humor a couple of times.
If you’re looking for friendship, these are poisoned friendships, Jackie and Ralph when Jackie is on the edge of bedding Victoria and Ralph is bedding Ronnie.
Considering how many cheeks are turned, here ought to be characters rushing off to a chiropractor to have necks adjusted.
The bad thing for the characters is that they can’t move on, while locked into these toxic relationships, trying to juggle jobs and Jones’s or not knowing for sure who they are going to wake up next to.
The good thing about the play is Victoria Perez as director, using some key members from her Raίces Theatre Company, especially Gómez, another member of that company.
She has to keep the action speeding along, before you really start thinking about Ralph’s equivocations or scheming or realize how sleazy Jackie is.
And, don’t say drugs are the key to fiscal or mental survival in bad times.
Jackie’s quick use of a gun when he’s angry says something about him and it’s not good.
If you are thinking this means you shouldn’t see the show, you are wrong.
I’m warning you it’s foul-mouthed, as the name suggests, and involves some not-so-nice people and it is and they are.
You understand they aren’t nice because of some really strong performances, Alcocer, Howze and Capeles-Rowe.
“The Motherfucker with the Hat” is a fascinating show, getting a dynamite production.
Be ready for the foul language and characters you are skeptical about.
They exist and they are around and what they do may not be what you think you would do.
You might and they will.
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