A Man, his Wife, and his Hat
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Ann Brooks

A Man, his Wife, and his Hat, now playing at Alter Theater in downtown San Rafael, is a play about “history” according to playwright Lauren Yee. She wrote this drama a year and a half ago in Egypt. “It’s about love and the extraordinariness of mundane routine. This play explores an older couple and everything wonderful and terrible about sharing your life with a single person.”

It’s all that and more and she writes it with a quirky sense of humor that not only makes the audience laugh but also has a way of weaving them into the tapestry of this off beat drama. Hetchman (Jeff Garrett) is a man in love with his hat. When his hat and his wife go missing, he says: “I do not need loving. I am not looking for wife. I am looking for hat.”

Hetchman’s wife (Patricia Silver) has been married to her husband for 60 years, cooking and cleaning for him and he doesn’t even remember her first name. She’s jealous of his hat. Can you blame her? When she steals his hat she talks to it: “I used to hate you. I used to dream he’d lose you.” But what she really wants is a hat of her own.

There is also another younger couple just starting out, trying various modern ways to keep their relationship more open, more free so they don’t end up like the older couple, but this approach also has its drawbacks. The couple feels what Milan Kundera described as “the unbearable lightness of being” in his novel of the same name. When two people try to keep their relationship lighter, they are without roots and feel like they’re floating away.

Then there is the most important character in the play: The all knowing, all seeing wall that gives advice to all the characters, and if this isn’t enough, a Golem shows up adding even more humor to this very unique play.

For tickets or more information call 415-454-2787 or visit www.altertheater.org

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