Suzan-Lori Parks has said that the original idea for her play “F-cking A” was something of a joke: “I’m going to write a riff on ‘The Scarlet Letter’ and I’m going to call it ‘F-cking A’!” This was before Parks had won the Pulitzer Prize for her breakout 2002 play “Topdog/Underdog.” More tellingly, it was also before she had even read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel.
And like many an idea borne of an ill-informed joke, “F-cking A” doesn’t really sustain itself over its two-hour-plus running time. That’s the takeaway from director Jo Bonney’s occasionally stirring revival, which opened Tuesday at Off Broadway’s Signature Theatre. (Parks’ second Hawthorne-inspired play, “In the Blood,” is due to open next week at the same theater complex.)
While Hawthorne may have been Parks’ jumping-off point — and the heroine is a woman named Hester (Christine Lahti) branded with a red A on the skin above her left breast — the real dramatic inspiration appears to be Bertolt Brecht. Read the full review at TheWrap.