After watching the fantastic Tony awards broadcast on Sunday night, I was so happy to have tickets to a show on Saturday! My colleague Noelle and I both wanted to see "The Motherf**er with the Hat." It was expensive but completely worth the splurge.
A few minutes later, Jackie arrives home, flush with pride that he has finally – finally – gotten a job! He showers Veronica with cheesy gifts, but before they can consummate his accomplishment with a round of celebratory sex, he notices a strange hat on the table.
I’ll stop there, because I knew very little about the play going into it, and I honestly think that’s why I enjoyed it so much. All I knew was that Chris Rock plays Jackie’s sponsor in a 12-Step program. (Not sure if it was A.A. or N.A.; by all accounts, it looks like this group needs to be in both.)
Jackie and Veronica are one of those “can’t live with him, can’t live without him” cursed couples in the vein of last year’s Blue Valentine, the (terrible) movie with Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams – or, even better, the “but officer, I luv him” domestic drama spoofs on Saturday Night Live.
It was fast-paced and riveting, with no intermission, so it was just 90 minutes of non-stop energy. I missed a few lines because the audience was laughing so hard (mostly at Jackie's effeminate Puerto Rican cousin, played by Yul Vázquez). The play is easy to follow, but it also leaves you with much to ponder about addiction, honesty and fidelity. I loved this review Neil sent from the New Yorker:
As the play goes on, we watch the very notion of rehabilitation unravel, too. [The playwright] isn’t anti-A.A. or anti-N.A., but he doesn’t shy away from the reality that exists offstage, as it were, in a world that isn’t protected by anonymity and trust. He knows enough about life to ask the right questions: What is recovery? And who, if anyone, can recover from the brutal high of a love hangover?
Seeing Chris Rock in his Broadway debut was fun, but it was definitely not his show. Cannavale’s Tony nomination (he lost to Mark Rylance in “Jerusalem”) was hard-earned. We noticed people lingering on the sidewalk after the show was over; Cannavale and Rodriguez both came out to sign Playbills. It was funny to see Rodriguez wander off down the street and get lost in the crowd once she’d finished signing a few autographs.