Creative Loafing Best of the Bay
Theatre Tampa Bay Nominated
What It’s AboutSomewhere in the suburbs, Isaac has returned from Afghanistan under unusual circumstances to help take care of his ailing father, who once ruled the house with an iron first, only to discover a household in revolt. The insurgent: his mother. Liberated from an oppressive marriage, and with Isaac’s newly-out transgender sibling Max as her ally, she’s on a crusade to dismantle the patriarchy. But in Mac’s sly, subversive comedy, annihilating the past doesn’t always free you from it. It leaves so many of our so-called normative and progressive ideas about gender, family, the middle class – and cleaning – in hilarious and ultimately tragic disarray.
Why We Chose ItHIR represents another in a long line of edgy, smart, highly relevant plays that not only speak to our mission but the pulse of the nation. It deftly walks that line between high comedy and high tragedy. As many know, we chose this as a replacement to Man in Snow, and what better kind of message to make then to replace it with a play that speaks to heteronormative power and the need to disrupt the current system?
Why Should You Care?Jenkins elaborates: “In addition to the Buried Child comparisons HIR has, in my estimation, taken its place alongside great American family dramas like Long Day’s Journey into Night, The Little Foxes, A Raisin in the Sun, Death of a Salesman, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Fences. It truly represents our day and age in ways audiences will continue to look back to for decades, if not centuries.”
Join us on 3/15 and 3/22 for a post-show talkback with the cast. Free for ticket holders, stick around for an engaging and entertaining conversation on the themes presented by the play and learn more about the process of staging this production. The 3/15 talk is moderated by Straz Center marketing manager Zachary Hines and the 3/22 talkback is moderated by director David Jenkins with special commentary from dramaturg Finn Lefevre.
From The DirectorThe title, HIR, (again, pronounced “here”) refers to a genderqueer pronoun. “It’s not simply a reference to the character of Max,” says David M. Jenkins, “but a commentary on the moment we’re all living in and the very idea of home (as in, literally the idea of “here.”). Mac sets up a very traditional, very familiar-feeling kitchen-sink play – one that is positively hilarious — and then spins it on its axis, or maybe better stated tries to burn it all down. The style is described as “absurd realism,” but the emphasis here is on the real. Mac requires that any absurdity in the show be driven by the reality of the situation, only moving to an absurd level because of the extreme circumstances.” In an interview with the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago, where the show enjoyed a highly successful run after the New York engagement at Playwrights Horizons (and where Annie Baker’s The Flick, produced earlier this year, also premiered), Taylor Mac says that he was highly inspired by Sam Shepard’s groundbreaking Buried Child.
About the Playwright
Taylor Mac (whose preferred gender pronoun is “judy”) is a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director, and producer considered to be one of the world’s leading theater artists. Taylor is considered a “critical darling of the New York scene” (NY Magazine), and has performed at Lincoln Center, Chicago’s Steppenworlf, the Sydney Opera House, the Spoleto Festival, and MOMA. Mac is a MacArthur Fellow (commonly referred to as the “Genius Grant”), a Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama, and is the recipient of multiple awards such as the Kennedy Prize, the NY Drama Critics Circle Award, a Guggenheim, and two Obies.
Paul Potenza was the first performer on the Off-Center Theater stage, which is now our Shimberg Playhouse. He’s been with us since 2001 when he
- David M. Jenkins – Director
- Matthew Ray – Production Stage Manager
- Ned Averill-Snell – Arnold
- Salem Brophy – Max
- Roxanne Fay – Paige
- Robert Spence Gabriel – Isaac
- Teah Banks – Rehearsal Stage Manager
- Brian Smallheer – Technical Director
- Samantha Ehrnman – Charge Artist
- Ryan E. Finzelber – Scenic and Lighting Designer
- David M. Jenkins – Sound Designer
- Finn Lefevre – Dramaturg
- Katrina Stevenson – Costume Designer
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