“HIR”: A Modern Family Dramedy


dav.d daniels

Christy Summerhays, Liggera Edmonds-Allen and Austin Archer in “HIR”

By Haley Oliphant, Editor-in-Chief

Known for bringing bold new theater to the surface, Salt Lake Acting Company will continue their stellar 2017-2018 season with “HIR” by Taylor Mac. About a suburban family with a mother “on a crusade to dismantle the patriarchy,” this show is sure to bring humor and poignancy to subjects the world is not always comfortable discussing. SLAC’s recent press release of the show gives this preview:

“Somewhere in the suburbs, Isaac has returned from the wars to help take care of his ailing father, only to discover a household in revolt. The insurgent: his mom. Liberated from an oppressive marriage, with Isaac’s newly out transgender sibling as her ally, she’s on a crusade to dismantle the patriarchy. But in Taylor Mac’s sly, subversive comedy, annihilating the past doesn’t always free you from it.”

[/media-credit] From left to right: Austin Archer, Christy Summerhays and Richard Scott in “HIR”

Mac (whose preferred pronoun is “judy”) has served theater from all sides, from producer to performer, playwright to director. Judy’s work has been seen around the globe in places like the Lincoln Center in New York City, Royce Hall in Los Angeles, SodraTheatern in Stockholm and the Sydney Opera house. New York magazine names Mac “a critical darling of the New York scene” and judy’s work includes awards such as the Obie Award, the Ethyl Eichelberger Award and Edinburgh Festival’s Herald Angel Award. With Mac’s extensive innovation in theater and performance, “HIR” is on track to be a smash hit.

The local cast will include SLAC veterans such as Richard Scott, Christy Summerhays and Austin Archer, but will also include a new face: Liggera Edmonds-Allen. Scott has history with SLAC dating “back to the 1990’s with “The Ghostman,” “Voice of the Prairie,” “Gun Shy” and “Ride Down Mount Morgan.” He also directed SLAC’s production of “The Man from Nebraska.” Summerhays was most recently seen on the SLAC stage as Annette in “God of Carnage” and Harper in “Angels in America.” Archer has been involved in twelve productions at SLAC and was most recently seen in “Saturday’s Voyeur” and “Climbing with Tigers.” Newbie Edmonds-Allen has “just returned to Utah from New York, where they worked as a theatrical consultant for Parity, designing youth theatre workshops for transgender teens. Their prior work includes the role of Cassidy in Good Company Theatre’s production of “Appropriate.”

Tracy Callahan, who also has an extensive background with SLAC, will be directing. Her most recent directing credits with SLAC include “Winter” by Julie Jensen, “Venus in Fur,” “Manning Up” and “How I Learned to Drive.” She has this to say about the project:

“This present moment in history and in these characters’ lives is about transition. To think of America’s present moment as a transgender character, as someone going through transition and redefining language and understanding feels right. To think of the American family and this American family drama as a reflection of where we may be headed if we don’t open our minds and hearts to the changes and transformations that are filling our homes is, as Paige says in the play, ignoring a great ‘paradigm shift.’ Ultimately HIR is about family salvation and family escape. It is a tragedy wrapped up in Mac’s unique view of the world, full of humor that makes us wonder if we should laugh or cry.”

[/media-credit] Liggera Edmonds-Allen and Christy Summerhays in “HIR”

“HIR” will open Feb. 7 and run through Mar. 11. Performances will be Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. with additional performances on the following days: Feb. 27 and Mar. 6 at 7:30 p.m. and Mar. 10 at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $24 to $43, with special discounts for groups of ten or more, students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased through the box office 801-363-7522, or by going online to www.saltlakeactingcompany.org.