The Yale School of Drama-educated director behind I Hope They Serve Beer on Broadway, the stage adaptation of Tucker Max's fratty exploits, emailed us to explain that Max "has absolutely nothing" to do with the play and probably won't like it because it's actually a "High Art" anthropological study of bro culture. AMAZING.

Bros across the nation rejoiced this week when Tucker Max announced that a stage adaptation of I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell was coming to an off-Broadway stage this summer. (Why simply read about objectifying and humiliating women for sport when you could snap your fingers along to a live reenactment?)

"A lot of my fans will like this more than the movie," he wrote, since once of the biggest critiques was that it wasn't completely true to the book; "Of course it couldn’t be, because the movie has to have a narrative and the book didn’t, but so many of my fans didn’t care; they just wanted to see the stories acted out. Well, that is EXACTLY what this play is. 98% of it is ripped directly from the books."

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But the director is taking a post-structuralist "rip," according to the email he sent us last night. We've pasted the full text below, but some highlights (bolded emphasis ours):

The only way I would have agreed to bring my art to bear on this project was by securing complete creative control of the theatrical product. Because Tucker had never seen a play before and has no understanding of theatrical art or its practitioners—in fact, he called me, to my face, a "theater fag"—he agreed to give me full creative control in all aspects of this project. He has not seen the script, nor will he even attend a rehearsal. The first time he sees the show will be opening night. He might show up expecting crass; what everyone will get is High Art, delivered by a Black, Latino, GLBT, musical-loving bunch of “theatre fags.”

and

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A Campbell’s Soup label was nothing more than a crass commercial commodity until Andy Warhol took it and put it on a canvas. And in its original form it still is that, right? No one mistakes a Campbell’s Soup can for high art. I am not Andy Warhol, but I am consciously evoking the transformative power of the theatre to render this base material into High Art.

The full email:

Dear Katie,

I appreciate you writing about my play, and thank you for your pithy and entertaining post. As you know, we in the theater relish such attention, which is often the purview of other art forms. And as they say, any ink is good ink.

But this is more than a just thank you note. I am writing collegially to correct an error on your part. Because you have not only misstated fact, but really missed the entire point. You strike me as a writer who would want to get it right, whether you then condemn it or no. Tucker Max knows nothing about doing what I am doing with this show. I have taken his source material and reinterpreted it via the transformative medium of my art, theatre. I am, aided by my wonderful cast and designers, the sole creative force behind this work.

To be very clear: Tucker Max has absolutely nothing to do with this play. In fact, I think if the play is done correctly, I am really not sure Tucker Max the person is going to like the character of Tucker Max that he sees on stage.

I know that may seem unusual, considering that it is based on his books. Believe me, I understand how the mistake could be made easily. But I see his book as a vessel for a great theatrical work and the articulation of an artistic vision quite beyond the source material.

For whatever you think about Tucker—and much of it is true, and I agree with most of it—you must see that his books are possibly the best anthropological text we have about modern American "frat" or "bro" culture (and which perhaps passes for the dominant form of masculine culture as well, sadly). My play is an exploration of this culture that is so pervasive and dominant in America, yet so understudied and misunderstood. That exploration is not being done by members of that culture, obviously, Tucker's book included. I believe this play can show that bro culture as it truly is—sexist, misogynist, exclusionary, but also vulnerable, sad, and ultimately doomed—and not how it is represented in beer commercials or Hollywood movies.

There is also an inclusiveness being evidenced already by the incredibly diverse cast that may be the best teaching tool of all. Even our most “bro” actor is a New Yorker and a theatre artist; as a person, he has none of the negative traits of these characters.

Please let me be clear that I intend to make a comedy, and to entertain the audience: the diverse, multi-cultural, many-gendered theatre audience. I am a director, and my first and foremost goal is that this audience enjoy my shows. That is exactly the reason I choose Tucker’s book as source material; I find the situations he describes to be very funny. Even the people who do not like it agree (the NY Times called his first book "highly entertaining and thoroughly reprehensible").

I believe passionately that I can take the core structure of the situations that he writes about, and put that bro humor in a context far beyond what Tucker could have envisioned. I can show the things that surround Tucker and his frat buddies, but they never see: the hurt, the sadness, the trauma, the tragedy, even how their own culture and behavior is just a defense against their own psychic pain. And as I hope you will agree, the best way to show a truth is through humor.

The only way I would have agreed to bring my art to bear on this project was by securing complete creative control of the theatrical product. Because Tucker had never seen a play before and has no understanding of theatrical art or its practitioners—in fact, he called me, to my face, a "theater fag"—he agreed to give me full creative control in all aspects of this project. He has not seen the script, nor will he even attend a rehearsal. The first time he sees the show will be opening night. He might show up expecting crass; what everyone will get is High Art, delivered by a Black, Latino, GLBT, musical-loving bunch of “theatre fags.”

I apologize if I have gotten overly dramaturgical here. I am, after all, a Yale School of Drama graduate and taking responsibility for my artistic choices as a director and articulating the theoretical underpinnings of my theatre work is what I am trained to do. But please do understand that this play is not in any way associated with Tucker Max the person, and only uses his book as a jumping-off point to create great theater.

I live in NYC and would love to talk to you about this more if you wish. And of course, if you'd like to attend the play, and see precisely how I have adapted the source material to achieve these goals, I would be delighted to give you press comps for opening night.

Christopher Carter Sanderson

PS—If I can indulge in a metaphor and not its comparison to a great artist, please let me say this: A Campbell’s Soup label was nothing more than a crass commercial commodity until Andy Warhol took it and put it on a canvas. And in its original form it still is that, right? No one mistakes a Campbell’s Soup can for high art. I am not Andy Warhol, but I am consciously evoking the transformative power of the theatre to render this base material into High Art.

We'll be there on opening night.