This weekend is the exciting West Michigan debut of The Motherf**ker With The Hat, a play that garnered critical acclaim, including a Tony Award nomination.
This dramedy by playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis is a production from the Mixed Roots Collective – another visionary and locally focused collective of DIT artists who seek to come together and host music, comedy and spoken word events in our region.
The story centers around Jackie, a petty drug dealer who is just out of prison and trying to stay clean while still in love with his coke-addicted childhood sweetheart, Veronica. And while the title of this production would be off-putting for most local venues, this is exactly why Mixed Roots Collective needed to stage this play, according to one of the collective's co-founders, Sammy A. Publes.
"We selected this as a collective because it is a beautifully written script diving into bungled lives," says Kyle Los, who is the co-director for this production along with Fred Sebulske. "Each character in the small ensemble fights for existence from varying perspectives - programmatic/systematic reasoning, addiction, love, etc."
From the perspective of an audience member attending, quite often the most successful art experiences are those where the image of one's self emerges through the work. This, according to Los, is what this play achieves as "you sense your own blunders and immaturity, passions and loves."
What really helps connect the audience to this engaging material is Grand Rapids Community College's Spectrum Theater's Black Box performance space, where the actors and audience nearly touch due to the production's intimate staging. It employs minimalist elements of cubes functioning as set and props, allowing swift transitions carried on the backs of the language effortlessly between scenes.
Grand Rapids' theatre scene is ever in flux and, as evident by the host of innovative theatrical programming options that were once only a dream, it's currently presenting diverse options. Simply put? There's more to love about being here. Just get there if you can.