Big Praise for The Motherf*cker With the Hat: A Message on Acceptance

Catia as Veronica and Victor Machado as Jackie in The Motherfucker with the Hat. (Photo: Andrew Iacovelli)

Brilliantly directed by Jackie Davis, this Burbage Theatre production of Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Motherfucker With the Hat features an ensemble of five convincingly talented cast members who give very powerful performances. They take on such painstakingly human themes as addiction, betrayal, vengeance, and the Guy Code, which is aptly mansplained for us. How refreshing to see a play so moving and entertaining from the very first minute to the last!

The production begins with Catia portraying Veronica, a no-nonsense woman who takes no sh*t! Hardcore to say the least, she is hysterical and you love her immediately. Victor Machado portrays Jackie, her love interest since eighth grade who’s a recovering addict and has recently finished serving jail time. They have a love lust that can’t be stopped — that is, until he notices a hat on her table which does not belong to him. He immediately accuses her of infidelity, which she denies vehemently, and the double-edged foils begin!

Jackie does something foolish and immediately thereafter visits his AA sponsor, Ralph, portrayed by Anthony Goes. It’s fitting that references are made to AA’s Big Book, page 449 referring to acceptance: All I have to do is accept the other person for who they are or the situation I’m in. Apparently, Ralph is having his own domestic issues with his wife Victoria, portrayed by Marleny Luna. When she compares notes with Jackie, some interestingly shocking information is revealed. Victor seeks the support of his cousin Julio, portrayed by Arturo Puentes. Madness ensues, much to our delight! Jeff Church, artistic director for Burbage Theatre and well known in the realm for his physical comedy acting, serves as fight choreographer, giving the audience some scenes with very realistic violence. This comes with somewhat of a balance though, as Shura Baryshnikov, serving as intimacy director, manages the lust components. 


Machado explains, “Motherfucker with the Hat delves into the profound impact addiction can have on relationships, shedding light on themes of self-identity, forgiveness, and the pursuit of happiness. The play will shock you and make you laugh or cry, but most importantly, it offers a compelling and thought-provoking exploration of human nature, flaws, and desires.”

With a small setting area to work with, you’ve got to give Trevor Elliot credit for a very clever set design. The furniture is divided between three domiciles, although it looks like one furnished apartment when fully lit. As a set change is needed, the room goes dark and the audience is treated to some entertaining TV clips while the inconspicuous set change happens.

Despite some very strong language and violence, which could be triggering for some, you’ll actually laugh at much of the action and vulgarity. It is somehow greatly satisfying! “Leave the gun, take the empanadas!”

Burbage features The Motherfucker With the Hat through June 16. Run time is about 95 minutes with no intermission. For more information, visit