Hir is a black comedy written in 2015 by multi-talented, multi award winner Taylor Mac. He is one of the world’s leading theatre artists.
This play is a major work in American theatre made in this century. It addresses current concerns of the decline of the middle class, the trauma of war veterans, gender fluidity, and the failed American dream.
Set somewhere in a hot Californian summer in a house built on land fill Isaac (Will O’Mahony) returns home dishonourably discharged from the army for drug related offences. For three years his work in Afghanistan was picking up body parts.
Perhaps expecting a welcome home banner and a return to his dysfunctional family he finds instead that his abusive father Arnold (Igor Sas) has had a stroke and can hardly speak.
His sister Maxine has become his brother Max (Jack Palit) and is growing a beard while injecting testosterone; and his mother Paige (Toni Scanlan) has found a new way to live her life by dressing his abusive father in a blonde wig, women’s clothes and badly applied make-up, while feeding him estrogen with his many pills in vitamised drinks.
The house is in a state of chaos with piles of unwashed clothing and blankets on the floor. Cleaning is not a priority in the new paradigm, where Paige is in revolt against her husband after years of brutality, and Isaac tries to exert control and rebuild the home he knew.
The play’s title Hir is a combination of “his” and “hers” pronounced “here”. The set, lighting, sound and assistant stage managers are graduates of WAAPA developing Black Swan’s plan for promoting emerging and mid-career Western Australian artists.
Darkly humorous, with a good cast, and brilliantly written this play is a “must” for people interested in contempory theatre.
The play’s duration is 95 minutes, with no interval. It has adult themes and strong language.
Hir is currently running at the Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA, until 27 May.
CAST INCLUDES: Will O’Mahony, Jack Palit, Igor Sas, Toni Scanlan
DIRECTOR: Zoe Pepper
SET DESIGNER: Tyler Hill, COSTUME DESIGNER: Tarryn Hill, COMPOSER/SOUND DESIGNER: Brett Smith, LIGHTING DESIGNER: Lucy Birkinshaw,
FIGHT DIRECTOR: Andy Fraser, VOICE & DIALECT COACH: Luzita Fereday
VENUE: Studio Underground
Photographs: Daniel James Grant