• Kevin Broccoli

We Want to Shake Things Up

A Message from Our Fearless Leader

There are very few playwrights I love as much as I love Stephen Adly Guirgis.

Not only is he willing to tell stories about characters many other playwrights fear to approach, but he does so in a dynamic and powerful way that dares you to stop paying attention.

When I was putting together this season, there were certain issues I felt we had to address—and addiction was at the top of that list.

Our country is in the throes of an opioid epidemic—one that still faces a taboo when it comes to talking honestly and openly about addiction, and yet we see so few stories about addiction presented onstage.

This season, as we explore the idea of “Conviction,” it seemed inevitable that we look at what it means to have the personal conviction it takes to get clean and stay that way—and to do it in a way that tells the whole story, not just the way people become addicted or get sober, but for many, the toughest part of the process—preventing a relapse.

In “The Motherf***er with the Hat,” Guirgis begins his story where many other plays finish—our protagonist is off drugs, but the obstacles he faces seem nearly insurmountable—a girlfriend who refuses to follow his lead and embrace sobriety, a sponsor who has questionable motives, and personal temptations and coping mechanisms that make this particular story far more similar to Greek tragedies than to your average dark comedy.

Because truly great stories aren’t about the hero versus the monster or the bad guy or even society. The plays that really shake you to your core ask what happens when it’s you against you. When you’re the one you have to contend with—and whether or not you have the conviction to do it.

This production is part of a series we’re doing at locations all around Rhode Island. Last year, we mounted shows at the Contemporary Theater Company, at a barbecue, and at an indoor swimming pool.

This season, we’re doing even more shows off-site, because we love the excitement that comes from a little change of scenery. It opens us up to new audiences and collaborations with different artists from around the state. This time around, we’re back the Academy Players for the first time since 2016, but in their brand new cultural arts center, and it’s no surprise that they’ve been so welcoming to us, we can’t wait to come back again.

As usual, we’ve assembled top-of-the-line local talent, led by the Artistic Director of Mixed Magic Jonathan Pitts-Wiley (His production of Guirgis’ “Jesus Hopped the A Train” is still one of our all-time favorites), and featuring Rudy Ru (Jesus Hopped the A Train, House Arrest), Jay Are Adams (Red Speedo), Jackie Aguirre (Milk Like Sugar), Kerry Giorgi (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), and Nicholas Menna (Wolf Hall).

Season Seven started off with our production of “We Are Proud to Present,” and it set the tone we’re aiming for all season long.

Put simply—

We want to shake things up.


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