Adelaide based theatre company, Lost In Translation, impressed audiences and critics alike with its 2016 Fringe production, A Steady Rain. The production played to a season of Full Houses and won an Adelaide Theatre Guide “Curtain Call” Award for Best Ensemble (Amateur). Company founder, Nick Fagan has not been resting on his laurels: he’s about to bring Stephen Adly Guirgis’ 6 time Tony nominated The Motherf**ker With The Hat to Adelaide’s exciting new Fringe venue, LIVE on 5 at the Adelaide Oval.
I managed to catch up with Nick to talk about this “Motherf**ker” of a project.
B.G.: So Nick, the obvious question – Why Motherf**cker With The Hat?
N.F.: Who doesn’t want to be involved in a play with ‘Motherf**ker’ in the title? I read Stephen Adly Guirgis’ play after hearing about it when it was nominated for a swagger of Tony awards in 2011 and I instantly fell in love with it. I started Lost In Translation because as an actor I was really disappointed with the number of gritty, edgy and risky plays being produced in Adelaide.. These are the types of plays I like to see and ultimately the types of plays I want to put my creative energy into. I think the title alone is enough to scare most of the local companies away from including a show like this into their program which is unfortunate because Adelaide audiences deserve the opportunity to see plays like this.
B.G.: What is the play about and what themes does it cover?
N.F.: The play in a nutshell is about two f**kups trying hard not to f**k up again. It centres around the relationship of childhood sweethearts Jackie and Veronica. Jackie is just about to get his life together, he is newly released from prison, has a new job, a new AA sponsor, and hope for the future. When Veronica welcomes him home with flirtatious affection and support, built on the foundation of their tangled history together things appear to be going well for them. That is until Jackie notices a stranger’s hat on his breakfast table. With the smell of Aqua Velva and mistrust, truths and trust begin to unravel, leading Jackie and Veronica down a path of discovery, love and loss
‘Motherf**ker’ really is a story about friendship, love and addiction which reveals the brutal reality of people’s complexities.
B.G.: What made you pick ‘newbie’ director Matt Houston to direct this production?
N.F.: Matt and I are collaboratively co-directing the play together. I felt it was important to have someone co-direct with me as being one the actors in the show I needed someone else to cast a more dispassionate eye on the production as well as direct me. It was important to me however to still maintain some artistic direction on the overall production and the other actors characterisations. Matt is very much at the helm in the director’s chair throughout the rehearsal process and we work very well together.
Why Matt? Who doesn’t love Matt Houston? Matt is an excellent actor with a very strong reputation in the Adelaide theatre community. It wasn’t important to me to have a co-director with a heap of directing credits under their belt but more so someone with strong theatre experience that just ‘gets it’. Anyone that has seen any of Matt’s acting performances would know that he ‘gets it’ and his strength for comedy is first rate. Matt has been an unbelievably huge asset to our production and we are very lucky to have him on board.
B.G.: Lost In Translation has a lot to follow with last year’s A Steady Rain being such a hit. Do you feel that this may go the same way?
N.F.: The overall success of ‘A Steady Rain’ after presenting it at last year’s Fringe was quite unexpected. I knew we had a great script and was confident we would do it justice but the response from our audiences and critics alike was a very pleasant surprise. Whilst ‘Motherf**ker’ is a very different play to ‘A Steady Rain’ I think it contains many elements that will provide a similar appeal cross a range of audiences.
Stephen Adly Guirgis’ script is brilliantly written. It is wickedly funny and has a lot of heart. I have an extremely talented cast who have immersed themselves into these characters – Rosie Williams is scarily authentic as the feisty and ferocious Veronica, Patrick Gibson is perfectly slick as smooth talking AA sponsor Ralph D, David Salter is hilarious and as impressive as always as Cousin Julio and Lana Adamuszek plays Victoria – Ralph’s sassy, take no shit wife to a tee. With these two key elements in place, I’m confident ‘Motherf**ker” can follow the success of ‘A Steady Rain’.
B.G.: What does it feel like to perform in Adelaide’s exciting new Fringe venue, LIVE on 5?
N.F.: It is very exciting. I feel very lucky and grateful for the opportunity to perform at such an icon of the state as Adelaide Oval in what I am sure is going to be one of the hottest spots for Fringe activity in Live on 5. It is obvious that a lot of work has gone into Live on 5 and finding an awesome line up of entertainment for their Fringe program. I can’t wait to see it all underway and be involved in its success.
B.G.: What do you hope audiences will get out of Motherf**cker With The Hat?
N.F.: I have a lot of friends who are not necessarily ‘theatre people’. In fact for a lot of my friends, the only time they have ever experienced live theatre is when they have come to support me at one of my shows. So, as well as having a focus of producing gritty, edgy and risky contemporary theatre, it is important to me to produce shows that you really don’t have to be a theatre lover to enjoy. Plays, that for my friends whose idea of the arts is ‘The Fast And The Furious 5’, will leave them having really enjoyed what they just experienced and wanting more. I am confident that ‘Motherf**ker’ is one such show.
It’s my hope that audiences who experience ‘Motherf**ker’ will leave feeling truly entertained. That they walk out of the venue with sore cheeks from laughing but at the same time affected by the story and go home with something to think about.
Interview by Brian Godfrey
Lost In Translation’s production of The Motherf**ker WithThe Hat has 3 sessions only. Playing in the William Magarey Room at LIVE on 5 at the Adelaide Oval, Fri 10 March 7pm, then Sat 11 March 7 and 9.30pm. Bookings can be made by clicking here.
For more information about the Adelaide Fringe, click here
For more information about LIVE on 5, click here