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The Motherf**ker with the Hat

By Stephen Adley Guirgis

Directed by Sara Katzoff

All Photos: Crysta Cheverie

Venable Theater, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

Featuring: Benjamin Baylon, Victoria Fernendez, Helena Kemper, Brendan Jennings and Marcus Neverson 

Sound Design by Peter Wise & Philip Shedd

Costume Design by Dawn Shamburger

Set Design by Josh Baker


Set in modern day New York City, Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Motherf**ker With the Hat is a fast paced, ferocious and darkly comedic glimpse into the precarious lives of ordinary people. Intermingling themes of substance and emotional addiction, jealousy, sexual duplicity and paradox, the five characters in The Motherf**ker With the Hat are united in their inability to escape the confines of their own base desires, habits and circumstances.


Yet, each character also possesses an extraordinary ability to live, to risk, to hope, to struggle, to dream. There is a genuine poetry to their desperation. These characters are passionate, vibrant, flawed and unpretentiously human. As a result, the truth of their actions, deceptions and foibles hold universal humor and depth.

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We played the games that people play
We made our mistakes along the way
Somehow I know deep in my heart
You needed me 'cause I needed you so desperately


~ Lionel Richie 


A mentor of mine once told me that life is 51% comedy and 49% tragedy and that the two inevitably push against each other and as they push, they create a space for laughter. That raw space is exactly where the play you are about to see lives.


Set in the melting pot of modern day New York City, Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Motherfu**er With the Hat is an unfiltered glimpse into the spectacular catastrophes of ordinary people struggling with addiction, jealousy and sexual duplicity.


The first time I read The Motherfucker With the Hat, I laughed harder than I have in a long time but I was also immediately struck by the ferocity at which these characters grabbed hold of me and didn’t let go. Each of them is intensely passionate, intensely flawed and intensely human. There is poetry in their desperation that is simultaneously nuanced and universal, singular and interchangeable.  That is what gives us permission to laugh and to dream in concert with each of them.


In Holland, there is an expression to describe this dynamic line between comedy and tragedy known as, “walking the edge of the knife” and for the last four weeks, the actors, creative team and I have been exploring the extremities of that.


In envisioning the play, we wanted to create a world that invited you in not just as a viewer, watching the action unfold from afar but from within the intimate lives of these people.


In Guirgis’ author’s notes to the actor that precede the play he writes,

“Tell the truth. And know that the opposite of love is indifference, not hate.” With its high octane language and richly twisted comedy, at its core The Motherf**ker With the Hat is a love story.


It has been an absolute joy to be in residence here at MCLA and to have the opportunity to work with such a remarkable ensemble of actors, assistant directors, stage managers and designers.


Thank you for being here and for choosing to spend this time with us.


~Sara Katzoff

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