top of page

"Fucking A" Was Pretty Fucking A

Purchase's Acting Company 48 recently put on "Fucking A," Suzan-Lori Parks wonderful adaptation of "Scarlett Letter."


By Elizabeth "Liz" Baldino


The Hunters in "Fucking A" (photo by Matilyn Tamplin).


“Fucking A” was an emotional, shocking, and funny show that left the theater blood-splattered, somber, and emotionally charged. Throughout the performance, the audience gasped in surprise and doubled over in laughter. They were left literally on the edge of their seats to get a closer look at the performers below.


Purchase's acting Company 48's performance of Suzan-Lori Parks' "Fucking A" serves as a creative reinterpretation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel "The Scarlet Letter." The run time was 2 hours long and broken up into two acts.


In Hawthorne's work, a scarlet red "A" is sewn onto the main character, "Hester's" dress to expose her adultery. In Park's interpretation, the "A" is a bloody brand on Hester's breast that, by law, must be shown through a cut-out on her dress. In "Fucking A," however, Hester doesn't commit adultery; she just provides abortions.


In Act 1, Hester, portrayed by Ryler St.Rose-Finear, works as an abortionist to save up money for her son Boy's "Freedom Fund." This fund would pay for Boy's release from prison. He was incarcerated as a child for stealing food from a wealthy family Hester worked for.


St.Rose-Finear gave a standout performance as Hester. Her acting was a heart-wrenching display of a mother in denial who would do anything for her son. St.Rose-Finear stayed consistent throughout the play with her acting, giving some of the show's most emotional and compelling performances.


Hester was the main focus of Act 1, but much of her screen time was shared with her close friend, Canary Mary, portrayed by Bella Rodriguez. Rodrigez delivered an alluring vocal performance throughout Canary Mary's emotionally charged affair with "The Mayor," portrayed by Jacquernst F. Filias.


The on-stage chemistry between St.Rose-Finear and Rodriguez was also remarkable. Their characters often speak in "Talk," a fictional language Parks imagined solely for the women in the play to discuss sensitive topics.


When "Talk" was spoken, a live band seated on stage would hold up cue cards with translations so the audience knew what was being said. It was an incredibly impressive part of the play, considering the actors had to learn lines in an entirely new language.


Despite the phenomenal acting, Act 1 did have a somewhat slow start. Act 2 is where the entire cast really got to showcase their best performances. Every scene was visually stunning, most memorably where three Waiting Women stood outside Hester's medical office shrouded in low light and veils.


The Waiting Women (photo by Matilyn Tamplin).


The musical numbers in Act 2 also featured some exceptional vocal performances, with a memorable performance of "The Making of a Monster" delivered by "Monster," portrayed by Joshua Boyce.


Act 2 also shifted focus to the other characters who had not yet been explored. The Butcher, portrayed by Steven Rutledge, quickly became a crowd favorite. He provided comic relief with extended monologues that had the entire theater laughing. Still, that didn't take away from Rutledge's emotional portrayal at the end of the play.


Some other performances worth mentioning are Daniel Madigan, who had a chilling and comedic performance as Jailbait, a prisoner who tricked Hester into believing he was her son.

Jamie McQuagge's feminine and dramatic performance of "The First Lady" was especially amazing at the end, when her character is left bloodied and taken advantage of.


Micah Abrams, Daniel Bravo Hernández, and Jacquernst F. Filias also gave boisterous and bold portrayals of the First, Second, and Third Hunter on their hunt for the runaway convict "Monster."


The cast professionally navigated the sensitive themes of the play and gave great depth to their performances. It wasn't just the cast that exceeded expectations, but the stage crew and live musical performers executed their roles flawlessly. The impressive set design, live music, lighting, and memorable acting made “Fucking A” pretty Fucking A.


224 views

Comments


bottom of page