WP Theater teams up with Colt Coeur to present this world premiere, a thornily clever antidote to a “meet-cute” romance where conflicting cultural identities collide. More…
Passions ignite when Layla, an intense literature professor, accuses Imran, a brashly iconoclastic novelist, of trading in anti-Muslim stereotypes. But as their attraction grows into something more, they discover that good sex doesn’t always make good bedfellows.
"There’s stinging dialogue, solid construction and high powers of observation that accurately render the fractious literary milieu...The characters are impeccably detailed and behave so realistically, causing the possible dynamic for the viewer of siding with one over the other...Director Adrienne Campbell-Holt’s propulsive staging injects eroticism, clarity and focus, all at a brisk pace, unifying the play’s suspenseful elements with its eloquent rhetorical portions." Full Review
"Adrienne Campbell-Holt directs this non-stop verbal and emotional battle with finesse. Kavi Ladnier and Sendhil Ramamurthy are superb in their constantly guarded love-hating. I am in awe of their efforts in this play, which is such a nuanced look at living in America while Muslim. This is an excellent co-production of Colt Coeur and WP Theater." Full Review
"A well-crafted two-hander in any season...Passions are heightened with every clever turn-of-phrase until the two head for the bedroom to work off the steam...Mirza's dialogue ripples with energy sprinkled with humor and an occasional gut punch. Using her two beautifully defined creations, she can go deep as well as broad, coming to conclusions that are enlightening as well as troubling...Director Adrienne Campbell-Holt has been blessed with a terrific cast as well as script." Full Review
"'Hatef**k' crackles and sizzles with passioned arguments over a sincere question: do POC’s have to sell out to earn big?...In some ways, the viewer is led to empathize with Imran, and how stuck he feels at having access to privilege only if he plays up every image and motivation sparked by imposing prejudices. Both actors make their characters fiery and intelligent...The couple bicker and blush in love and hate for themselves, each other, and the world." Full Review
"The formula is the same as the Carville-Matalin script: opposites attract, at the risk of implosion...At the core of the smartly, and wittily written play, is the consummate art of peddling of popular notion and stereotype literature to the masses. The idea of being perceived shallow is tucked away, but hovers about...Mirza raises the interesting and important question of Muslim identity and stereotype." Full Review
"The play is solid, but I think Adrienne Campbell-Holt’s direction could have more nuance. High pitched antagonism is not sufficiently interesting a dynamic to keep an audience going for 90 minutes. At some point you realize nothing is ever going to change...I also think the writing bears a bit of scrutiny, to make the piece less a polemic and focus more on the actual relationship – however flawed – these two people are allegedly trying to create." Full Review
"The strains of rom com and intellectual rigor...don’t always harmonize, and sometimes the schematics of the philosophical argument trip up the piece as much as the schematics of the romance plot, but it’s bracing and engaging throughout, energized by two strong performers with chemistry to spare...The play’s laser focus is both weakness and strength...The absence of exposition is bright and refreshing, but we end up knowing almost nothing about these people." Full Review
“Smart, sexy and not entirely satisfying....Ms. Mirza is a sharp writer and a savvy thinker...But too often Layla and Imran feel like mouthpieces for the larger arguments. When the actors really sell the repartee, those mouths can be enough...As the badinage sputters, though, the play wilts...Still, it’s nice to see a play that invites Muslim characters to be just as mouthy and sexy and messy as characters of any other denomination.” Full Review
"Layla and Imran’s hookup-turned-romance is fun to watch. But ultimately, 'Hatef**k' is another example of a genre that has become too familiar: The 'play about art,' in which well-educated people debate the role and responsibility of the artist in society. Granted, it’s an important debate, especially when the artist is a member of an often-stigmatized group. But one can’t help feeling that, like Imran and Layla, the play is using that issue to avoid some deeper and messier questions." Full Review
"Ladnier and Ramamurthy wield Mirza's sharp writing like two Olympic fencers brandishing their foils. They begin to stumble over their lines, however, as the plot progresses and Mirza becomes bogged down in the play's real purpose: an argument over the representation of Muslims in popular culture...The play is half-salvaged by Adrienne Campbell-Holt's steamy staging, which emphasizes the raw sexuality of the two performers." Full Review
"For every line that surprises in 'Hatef**k,' there are ten riddled with clichés, lecturing, or banalities...The dialogue is painfully forced and often as implausible as the story arc...As it stands now, 'Hatef**k' is just another play about opposites, this time with a Muslim twist. The topic is admirable and relevant but that doesn’t make the play a good one...When the play ended, I was not sure either character grew or learned anything. I know I didn’t." Full Review
See it if you enjoy plays about dating & relationships among modern Muslims in today's USA, like 2-handers & intense confrontations
Don't see it if don't like 2-character plays or subjects about young American Muslims' professional ambitions, put off by the "Women's Project" label
See it if Multiple conflicts: modern/tradition practicing Islam, research professor/popular fiction writer, sexual tension, Muslim terrorism/peaceful.
Don't see it if You aren’t interested in cultural and religious conflicts facing Muslims in America and their portrayal in media.
See it if Sexy academic idealistic muslim gal seduces sexy commercial egotistic muslim guy. Sparks fly. Can they grow from their differences?
Don't see it if Their antagonism hardly ever abates. They state their respective values on the portrayal of Muslims in western media, then keep arguing.
See it if you can. This play is only 90 minutes but it packs in ideas upon ideas upon ideas, while still being a compelling theatrical experience.
Don't see it if you'd be frustrated by a show whose idea is slightly better than its execution (in terms of dialogue and in terms of the performers).
See it if you like exploring conflict of principles between strong personalities on timeless themes: self over community, exploitation over advocacy
Don't see it if you want a larger scope than an attractive cast of two on a single (enviably attractive) set with clashing egos & questionable moral stances
See it if I want that set at my home. The two actors light up the stage. The lighting is so effective esp during scene changes
Don't see it if Both arguments make sense BUT...something is missing Beat the steps problem by entering on floor 3 Still no handrails in theater.
See it if Holding a mirror to the world & taking to task a Muslim novelist(for his Islam depiction) a Muslim prof embarks on an affair for advancement
Don't see it if In an unspoken meeting, the two brown-skinned Muslims match hands comparing their hues, setting up the cultural dynamics & burying the lead.
Also Sample dialogue: "We are our beliefs."
See it if you're looking for a show that engages with contemporary issues, particularly those surrounding Muslim Americans. The sum is definitely...
Don't see it if ...greater than the whole of its parts. The writing is uneven. The acting is occasionally overwrought. But the overall story is important.
See it if you want to see a libidinous & fervid debate on the image of Muslims in art & popular culture between a pop-fiction writer & a college prof.
Don't see it if you want more from an "issues play" than mere mouthpieces for competing viewpoints on a writer's responsibility to represent his/her culture
See it if Want look at artist responsibility vs the perceived roles of Muslims in society thru couple who inexplicably keep lustily jumping into bed.
Don't see it if Don't want EXPLICIT talk, sim sex onstage, a one-note polemic debate, characters who don't chge over arc of story, questionable plot holes.
See it if you have patience to get through an ill-fitting first third before a play finds a voice it can handle and gets interesting.
Don't see it if you do not have patience for an energetic, albeit somewhat forced, clash on culture, identity, and sexual power dynamics.
See it if you enjoy cliched writing and non believable characters (at least the first half) followed by heavy preachy serious dialogue
Don't see it if you don't enjoy cliched writing and non believable characters (at least the first half) followed by heavy preachy serious dialogue
See it if You're interested in hearing from two opposing viewpoints about Muslim representation in the arts
Don't see it if You value character and relationship construction over characters being mouthpieces for viewpoints; you are bothered by put-on sexiness
See it if you want to see two people sexily debate how people of color should portray themselves in art.
Don't see it if "you don't see color," or don't like plays based heavily in reality, or seeing simulated sex on stage.
See it if great set & use of the space. I had never seen Sendhil Ramamurthy before but he was fantastic. Well written play. Enjoyable to watch.
Don't see it if If you are not interested in watching a couple flirt, have sex and negotiate a relationship.
See it if you'd like to see a clever contemporary play that presents 2 thoroughly contemporary Arab-Americans at home.
Don't see it if you're looking for a deep exploration of the stereotypes Arab-Americans face today; this one skates the surface.
See it if you enjoy a show involving a couple who hates the other's cultural beliefs, yet have strong sexual attraction for each other. Sex vs Beliefs
Don't see it if you aren't interested in cultural conflict; don't want to see a couple in a sexual frenzy, with profanity & simulated sex
See it if You like shows that explore ethnic/gender/religious identity in clever and thought provoking ways. Obama would approve!
Don't see it if You're easily offended by explicit language or some (relatively tame) sexual intimacy on stage.
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Subject to availability. This offer can be altered or revoked at any time. Casting subject to change
Subject to availability. This offer can be altered or revoked at any time. Casting subject to change.
Subject to availability. This offer can be altered or revoked at any time. Casting subject to change
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