by Jeffrey Hatcher and Eric Simonson
originally produced at City Theatre,
May 7, 2011
through May 29, 2011
City favorites Jeffrey Hatcher and Eric Simonson celebrate Pittsburgh-born comic playwright George S. Kaufman by placing him at the center of his own Kaufman-like plot. The famed dramatist returns to his Pittsburgh childhood home to cure a case of writer’s block, only to find himself foiled at every turn by slamming doors, mistaken identities, and a hilarious assortment of eccentric locals.
Few people know that “The Great Collaborator” himself, George S. Kaufman, was Pittsburgh born and bred. Who better to collaborate on a work about the man who never worked without a collaborator than long-standing colleagues Jeffrey Hatcher—who grew up near Pittsburgh—and Eric Simonson—who considers it a home away from home. City Theatre is honored to present Louder Faster, Hatcher and Simonson’s celebration of both Kaufman and Pittsburgh with an ingenious premise that mines the potential of Kaufman’s reputation as a co-writer of comedy and Pittsburgh’s reputation as a labor town. In late 1930s, facing a looming deadline to win a bet with Harpo Marx by proving he can write a play without a collaborator, Kaufman has returned to his dilapidated boyhood home hoping to overcome his writer’s block and finish in a single weekend the kind of work no one would expect of him: a dramatic epic about a labor strike. Instead, surrounded by a cast of eccentrics including an undercover FBI agent and an old-school anarchist, Kaufman gets trapped in what could be one of his own plots, setting the stage for a hilarious Kaufmanesque comedy exploring themes of politics, class, the creative process, and the multiple meanings of “collaborator.” Though Pittsburgh has moved on from its Industrial Age roots, the play takes advantage of the rich artistic, political, and cultural history the city has always had to offer, making it present for our audience. At the same time, it will treat Pittsburgh’s history of labor and immigration, which has been seriously examined time and again, from a rare angle—the comic perspective—hopefully giving our region a surprising new view of itself. Simonson and Hatcher both have a long history with City Theatre, which has produced many of their works. Their last collaboration, Work Song: Three Views of Frank Lloyd Wright, was a great success for City Theatre. Simonson and Hatcher have called Louder Faster a love letter to the city of Pittsburgh which, due to their association with City Theatre, has served as an artistic home for both of them. Since our subscribers also have a long-standing appreciation for the work of these writers, no more ideal audience exists for this world premiere.