Hir at Dramashop: We're Here for It
Friday, November 9
A marine named Isaac returns home after dishonorable discharge for drug abuse to find things in his family are … not quite as he left them.
There's his mom, Paige, long abused by her controlling husband, and taking her vengeance against him — and the patriarchy in general — by dressing him in his incapacitated, post-stroke state in nightgowns and horrifying make-up looks, while feeding him estrogen pills. She gleefully upends everything that her husband, Arnold, once oppressed her over.
There's Max, formerly Maxine, who is transitioning from female to male with the support of testosterone injections, and who prefers gender-fluid pronouns like "ze" — rather than he or she — and the titular "hir" (pronounced "here") instead of her or him. This Paige fully supports, as Max navigates the process, but with an incredibly on-point touch of "mom realism."
This highly contemporary black comedy was penned by MacArthur "Genius Grant" recipient Taylor Mac, a writer, singer-songwriter and drag performer of visionary gifts. It opened in San Francisco in 2014, before a production was staged in New York City in 2015. Is it surprising to see it being staged here in Erie by Dramashop in 2018? It shouldn't be.
"We live in a diverse community and a diverse country. We need to celebrate that now more than ever," said Zach Flock, the artistic director at Dramashop.
Hir uses comedy to effectively examine and explore current pressing social issues — toxic masculinity, gender fluidity, PTSD, trans people and more — in a way that makes it approachable, opens up the conversation, and lets us "explore these issues with a laugh, but without disrespecting them," Flock stated.
Under the direction of Megan Hamm, Hir is presented by the Dramashop in the form of a staged reading, and it features just the four aforementioned characters; each one imbued with the weighty task of highlighting a significant attitude or awakening happening every day, all across the country — even right here. — Cara Suppa
8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 9. 10, 16, and 17 // 1001 State Street, Suite 210 // Free (or pay what you can) // dramashop.org