The bomb that still has the power to shock and awe
Some will say it has no place in a play’s title, but dash it all, it’s such a versatile word!
We don’t always say it when we say it. We say “the f-word.” We say effing, freaking, flipping. We use dashes and asterisks and parades of punctuation whose length is directly proportional to our emphasis. We spell it in front of the kids. We say it in hate, in outrage, in pain, in awe, in exhaustion, in lust, in disgust.
Many of us find it disrespectful, vulgar, repulsive. We have been fined and fired for saying it on television. We won’t print it in the newspaper.
And yet the word will grace at least two marquees of Washington theaters this year. “The Motherf---er With the Hat” by Stephen Adly Guirgis is enjoying a sixweek engagement at Studio Theatre. “Stupid F---ing Bird,” an adaptation of Chekhov’s “The Seagull” by D.C. playwright and director Aaron Posner, will have its world premiere at Woolly Mammoth in May. At the Public Theater in New York, frequent Woolly guest Mike Daisey finished a run of his monologue “F---ing F---ing F---ing Ayn Rand” in January. So, why is that word in so many titles? “I’ve now been forbidden to say the name of my own play in front of my own daughter,” said Posner, whose child is 15 months old. “Because she says the word now very clearly.”
Posner’s title started as a joke, a sly