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Hir

21 August 2017 | 2:04 pm | Sam Baran

"Taylor Mac's tongue-in-cheek dialogue is sharp and clever but can still leave you wriggling in your chair at the trauma unfolding on stage."

In Hir, disgraced marine Isaac returns from the war to find his home is not how he left it. Abusive father Arnold has suffered a stroke, sister Max is not his sister anymore, and the family's living the 'loogabustia' (LGBT+) lifestyle under mother Paige. She's undergone a paradigm shift of epic proportions, employing the kind of gender-aware language you'd expect from a young queer activist and declaring the family to be beyond houses and outdated prejudices.

Hir is a strange unicorn of a play, taking its name from the genderless pronouns transmasculine sibling Max has adopted. Despite being loaded with terms like 'heteronormative' and 'genderfluidity', very little of the central conflict revolves around gender. Rather, the struggles involve familiar themes like family, loss of control and the difficulty of adapting to a world-changing furiously beneath you.

The play is both uproariously funny and deeply discomfiting. Author Taylor Mac's tongue-in-cheek dialogue is sharp and clever but can still leave you wriggling in your chair at the trauma unfolding on stage. Whatever your attitude towards freedom of gender and identity, Hir will confront you and leave you questioning.

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Regardless, Hir represents an encouraging trend in queer theatre. It contains queer experiences written, explored and acted out by queer individuals. If you're willing to throw aside your preconceptions and enter a world of family insanity viewed through a murky rainbow lens, Hir is an experience unlike any other.

Belvoir Theatre presents Hir till 10 Sep