The Motherf**ker with the Hat
By Shanika Sealy
The Motherf**ker with the Hat is a comic tale of infidelity and friendship. There are five main characters — Jackie, Veronica, Ralph D., Victoria and cousin Julio. The story revolves around Jackie, a Puerto Rican New Yorker who is trying to get his life back on track after a lengthy prison sentence.
The play originally debuted on Broadway in 2011. Lehman College’s theater department performed the urban tale to a sold-out crowd in October. Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis, Lehman’s performance was directed by Dante Albertie.
The play consists of nine acts and the action begins immediately.
Released from prison, Jackie runs home, excited to reunite with his high school sweetheart Veronica, a drug addict. Upon arriving, he discovers a stranger’s hat inside their apartment. With the help of his sponsor, Ralph D. and his cousin Julio, Jackie vows to find this Mother**ker with the Hat.
Jackie’s discovery of the hat elicited a rather loud chorus of curious whispers and comments from the Lehman audience. “How could they!” “She don’t care about Jackie.” Throughout the play, the audience was extremely vocal, reacting to the unfolding events.
Jackie and Veronica are not the only couple facing problems. Each of the five characters wrestles with demons and the dialogue is peppered with colorful profanity.
After various twists and turns, the play concludes with a surprising revelation — that the hat’s owner is the last person that anyone would suspect.
Back stage after the show, the cast explained how they prepared to get into character and to adopt the saucy language. “Honestly, I thought ‘What is my mom going to think?’” said Manuel Galán, who played the main character Jackie. Galán, a business and public relations major, said he was surprised by the sheer volume of curse words in the play.
But, eventually, he said, “I started having fun with the language.” Galán said he used some of his own life experiences when trying to convey the difficulty of dealing with a drug-addicted love one. ““I felt pain from my family members being on drugs,” he said.
In the play, Jackie’s girlfriend Veronica is a daily user of cocaine and alcohol. Actress Angie Núñez said she prepared for her role by accepting Veronica for who she was and researching drug addiction. “I had to fall in love with the Veronica character,” said Núñez, a psychology major. “I watched a documentary about cocaine.”
Character Ralph D was a sponsor for a big brother program. Adeyinka Adebola, a theatre major, who played Ralph D. said he researched coping with alcohol addiction for his role.
Emily Holland, who portrayed Victoria, said she instantly took to the script . “I read it once. I love it,” she said “It was witty.”
Lekhraj agreed, “The writing was just so good.”