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The Motherfucker With the Hat

7:30 pm Wednesdays-Sundays and 2 pm Sundays through March 30., Wednesday March 26 | $25-$55.
Artists Repertory Theatre
1515 SW Morrison St.
As Stephen Adly Guirgis’ comedy opens, main character Jackie (John San Nicolas), a recovering drug addict on parole, enters his bare-bones apartment with near-boundless energy. He’s landed a job and feels buoyed by the promise of a fresh start for himself and his childhood sweetheart, Veronica (Diana DeLaCruz). But that fades when he notices an unfamiliar man’s hat on the coffee table. It’s like “motherfucking Zorro leaving his Z” all over the place, and Jackie slumps into an emasculated wreck. With his bad-boy carriage and fiery eloquence, Jackie bumbles through entertaining tantrums on his search for the titular motherfucker, relying on his AA sponsor, Ralph (Victor Mack), and cousin Julio (Gilberto Martin del Campo, infectiously hilarious). As the plot develops and real drama unfolds, though, the script’s perky sarcasm becomes tedious, and Ralph’s eruptions grow tiresome. Yet this Artists Rep production, directed by Kevin Jones, still manages to tell a surprisingly lighthearted and often very funny story of drug abuse. It’s most effective when highlighting how addiction tips the power dynamics between lovers or sponsors and sponsees. In a strong cast, Val Landrum gives an especially moving performance as Victoria, Ralph’s ex-sponsee and unhappy wife. When she comes onto Jackie after getting drunk and high, she confesses her regrets with the pained insight of a longtime addict and then strokes his neck, as mournful as she is desperate.

Where: Artists Repertory Theatre
Phone: 241-1278
Address: 1515 SW Morrison St.
Website: http://www.artistsrep.org/

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