HIR Begins Performances At Stage West, 5/17
Picture if you will, the classic American family. A son in the military, a tomboyish daughter, a typical housewife mom, a Joe-the-Plumber father. But in Taylor Mac's subversive and outrageous comedy, HIR, this archetypal group gets completely turned inside-out in a 5-week regional premiere run at Stage West beginning Thursday, May 17.
Isaac is a former soldier, dishonorably discharged after three years with the Mortuary Division, where he picked up body parts. And now, longing for something familiar, stable, and safe, he returns home. But while he's been gone, the home-and-family he remembers have taken a hard left turn. His sister, Max, is in transition to become his brother, taking hormones and using the gender neutral pronouns "ze" and "hir". His difficult father Arnold has had a stroke, and sits on the couch in a nightgown and make up. And his mother, on a mission to upend the old regimes, joyously frees herself from order and chores with total abandon. As Isaac endeavors to restore structure to a household that he does not recognize, the family is forced to confront what it is to live in a new world when one is stuck in the past.
With HIR, Taylor Mac has taken that staple of the American stage - the family drama, made famous by the likes of Arthur Miller, William Inge, Sam Shepard, and Eugene O'Neill, among others - and has tilted its axis and dipped it in glitter. It's absolutely a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience! (Note: contains adult themes and strong language. Hir is pronounced "here.")
The New York Times called it "A remarkable, audacious, uproarious black comedy with a daring combination of realism and madcap absurdity."
Taylor Mac (who uses "judy", lowercase sic, not as a name but as a gender pronoun) is a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director and producer. "A critical darling of the New York scene" (NY Magazine), TimeOut NY has called Mac "One of the most exciting theater artists of our time." Judy's work has been performed at New York City's Lincoln Center, The Public Theatre and Playwrights Horizons, Los Angeles's Royce Hall, Minneapolis's Guthrie Theater, Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, the Sydney Opera House, Boston's American Repertory Theatre, Stockholm's SodraTheatern, the Spoleto Festival, San Francisco's Curran Theater, and MOMA, and literally hundreds of other theaters, museums, music halls, opera houses, cabarets, and festivals around the globe. Judy is the author of seventeen full-length plays and performance pieces including HIR (placed on the top ten theater of 2015 lists of The New York Times, New York Magazine, and Time Out NY), The Lily's Revenge (Obie Award), The Walk Across America For Mother Earth (named One of the Best Plays of 2011 by The New York Times), The Young Ladies Of (Chicago's Jeff Award nomination for best solo), Red Tide Blooming (Ethyl Eichelberger Award), The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac (Edinburgh Festival's Herald Angel Award); in collaboration with Mandy Patinkin, Susan Stroman and Paul Ford, Mac created The Last Two People On Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville. Mac is the recipient of multiple awards including the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Guggenheim Award, the Herb Alpert Award in Theater, the Peter Zeisler Memorial Award, the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award and an Obie. An alumnus of New Dramatists, judy is currently a New York Theater Workshop Usual Suspect and the resident playwright at the HERE Arts Center.
HIR will be directed by Stage West Associate Producer Garret Storms, who most recently directed our production of Like a Billion Likes. Returning vet Isaac will be played by Blake McNamara, last seen at Stage West as Woodnut in The Nether, with Bob Hess, recently seen as Mr. Bennet/Charlotte in the WaterTower Theatre production of Pride and Prejudice, as Arnold. Making their Stage West debuts will be Cara Statham Serber, acclaimed for her role as Marilyn Nesbitt in Superman for Dallas Theater Center, as Paige, and Zander Pryor, noted for his performance as Oliver in The Tribute Artist for Uptown Players, as Max.
Set design is by Clare Floyd DeVries, with lighting design by Leann Burns, costume design by Laurie Land, sound design by John Flores, puppet design by Kyle Igneczi, and props/set decor by Lynn Lovett.
HIR will preview Thursday, May 17 at 7:30 and Friday, May 18 at 8:00, and will run through Sunday, June 17. Performance times will be Thursday evenings at 7:30, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00, with Sunday matinees at 3:00. The opening night reception will be Saturday, May 19. Ticket prices range from $31 to $35, with discounts for the preview performance, and for students, seniors, and military. Food service is available 90 minutes prior to performances (reservations are advised). Reservations and information are available through the Box Office (817-784-9378), or on the website, www.stagewest.org.
Members of the media may attend Saturday, May 19, or any performance thereafter.
Additionally, we will be holding Post Show Conversations following every HIR performance beginning Sun, May 20. As playwright Taylor Mac says, "You can come and you don't have to decide how you feel about it...You could actually go to it and say, 'Oh, it's talking about these issues. Let me think about these issues for the rest of my life now'."
Alongside our production of HIR, Stage West will have three special events:
We kick this all off with The HIR Happy Hour on Friday, May 11 from 5 to 7. Join us for an introduction to the show from the cast and director. Party Poet Shae Lynn Shaw will be writing custom haiku for you on her vintage typewriter. We'll have snarky coloring pages provided for your diversion, as always, as well as cheap beer & free snacks. Try our drink of the show The Hir Kir.
In the tradition of Taylor Mac, Dallas performance artist Brigham Mosley brings drag and drama to Stage West! Mosley's original premiere Critical, Darling! dismantles the patriarchy and queers up your childhood - a jukebox-musical of the performance-art-sort. Wednesday, Jun 17 at 7:30. brigham-mosley.com
HIR playwright Taylor Mac said a production of Buried Child was a catalyst for the play. We will have a free screening of the Sam Shepherd's classic American drama Wednesday, May 15 at 7pm in the Studio at Stage West courtesy of BroadwayHD.com