The F Word

The “F” Word
Written by Jordan Beswick.
Actor’s Theatre of Washington at the Source Theatre, Washington, DC.

I recently had the oportunity to see a brand new play by Jordan Beswick, called The “F” Word at the Source Theatre on a recent trip to Washington, DC. Playing to a practically full house on opening night, the audience thoroughly enjoyed the show.

The play, contray to it’s title, doesn’t not “hit you over the head” with vulgarity or anything of the sort. Instead the premise of the play revolves around the main character, Eric (played by Louis Cupp) at a cross-roads of life. Eric’s roommate, Mary (played by Lynn Chavis) is apparently desparate to have a child.

The play starts with Mary attempting to inseminate herself thanks to a contribution from Eric. Legs up on the couch, the first of many humorous moments occurs as she accidently spills the specimen, prompting Eric to have to provide a bit more.

The story unfolds, explaining the “non-traditional” path Eric and Mary are taking to bring a child into the world thanks to Eric’s brother Paul (played James O. Dunn) who plays the “traditional” role of straight man, in more then one sense of the word.

Paul brings gravity to the play, grounding Eric and as the play progresses we are introduced to their sister, Cindy (Jennifer Phillips) who is the antagonist to the entire situation. Cindy adds that fourth dimension to this play as she eptimizes the anti-gay, ultra-conservative, religious right who is completely opposed to Eric and Mary bringing a child into this world.

At this point in the play the audience has picked up that Eric is gay, thanks to a very humorous exchange between his brother and him. The dialogue between the characters is fantastic, making it easy for the characters to be revealed through the acting.

As the play moves on, which is at a brisk pace, we discover that Eric is not dealing with issues in reality but really the issues are in his head. He is truely trying to deal with the possiblities of bringing a child into this world against the values of traditional society.

The intermission comes at a perfect spot, giving the audience time to soak in the situation and realize that 50 minutes just went by. One of the great things about the placement of the intermission is it leaves the audience wondering where this play is going and how will it end…

I won’t spoil the ending, but it is a series of wonderful, convention breaking scenes that ultimately reveal the path Eric is finally ready to take. Overall, the play is a fantastic piece of work, well ahead of its time.

The production value of the play was one of my only critiques. The set is crudely assembled of simply a couch, chair, tv and a back drop resembling a wall. Lighting is well done for the space, masking areas where needed and highlighting the actors. My only complaint was the tv was distracting as it was on twice during the performance, and the flicker was pulling attention away from the dialogue downstage. The sound was sub-par, but given the limited technical requirements for the play, it did not detract from the performance.

Overall, The “F” Word is a tremendous piece of work. Highlighed by several extremely funny scenes and dialogue. The actors do a good job of breathing life into such well written characters. Clearly the playwright, Jordan Beswick, knows how to write excellent dialogue which clearly carries the play. I highly reccommend you take a moment to catch The “F” Word if you are in the Washington, DC area.

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