Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-08-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Hir
by Mary Shen Barnidge
2017-07-19

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Taylor Mac. At: Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. Tickets: $20-$89. Runs through: Aug. 20

The phenomenon of "paradigm shift" occurs when an object undergoes a perceived change after being observed from a different angle—the scientific equivalent of the adage about seeing things from the other person's point of view. Be warned that several such transformations are embedded in Taylor Mac's portrait of the unlucky Conner clan.

Family patriarch Arnold once ruled his blue-collar domain with the authority of a reigning monarch; however, a stroke precipitated by his stubborn claim to alpha-male dominance has delivered him into the care of his long-abused wife Paige, whose emancipation finds its expression in a 180-degree reversal of the conditions associated with her former oppression. Tidiness has been replaced by disorder, clean crockery and neatly folded laundry by unwashed dishes and scattered lines, and dawn-to-dusk television by museum trips and art projects. These shared activities mostly involve Paige and 17-year-old Max ( who identifies as transgender ), participation on public excursions by the convalescent Arnold—nowadays garbed in tattered nightgowns and diapers, rainbow wig and cake-frosting makeup, his medication emerging from a blender and his showers from a garden hose—having grown, well, problematic.

Audiences may initially echo the horrified response of 24-year-old Isaac Conner upon returning from Afghanistan with a dishonorable discharge, a record of drug use and PTSD engendered by three tours retrieving shattered body parts. As he strives to restore the home he remembers, however, it becomes increasingly apparent that his recollections were based in artifice from the very beginning. When Arnold is not sedated, evidence of his bullying resurfaces—making Paige's method of disciplining her husband by spanking him or spraying him with water seem downright benevolent by comparison with his once-customary practice of slamming malefactors against the cardboard walls of their tract house constructed on landfill.

The cast assembled by Steppenwolf director Hallie Gordon for this Chicago premiere are adept at giving the appearance of isolation, but Mac is generous enough to distinguish these victims of social and economical change from other unhappy families—the Voynitskis, the Tyrones or the Westons. Listen closely and you will hear the briefest of references to a surrounding community—neighbors who "don't say hi, but wave," homeless vets at the bus station and an online group of "gay anarchists"—offering the possibility of assistance. Who knows? You could be one of those nearby residents gingerly overcoming the fear of crippling despair seeping over the back fence into your yard.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Sedaris, Ginsburg, Ailey dancers part of Auditorium's season 2017-08-16 - The Auditorium Theatre announced its 2017-18 season under new Chief Executive Officer Tania Castroverde Moskalenko—along with its new tagline, "The Theatre for the ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Engage! 2017-08-16 - Playwright: Brendan T. Stallings. At: Stellar Productions at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: 773-975-8150; TheaterWit.org; $20. Runs through: Aug. 25 ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Monticello 2017-08-16 - Playwright: Thomas Geoghegan. At: Aurora Theater Works at the St. Bonaventure Oratory, 1625 N. Ashland Ave. Tickets: $20. Runs through: Sept. 3 ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Food Show 2017-08-16 - Playwright: Dan Kerr-Hobert, Caitlin Stainken and the ensemble. At: The Neo-Futurists at the Metropolitan Brewery, 3031 N. Rockwell St. Tickets: $10-$25. Runs through: ...


Gay News

THEATER Critics' Picks 2017-08-16 - Hir, Steppenwolf Theatre, through Aug. 20. It's hard to like the characters in Taylor Mac's darkly distorted family sitcom, but only a joker ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW HAIR: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical 2017-08-16 - Music: Galt MacDermot. Book & Lyrics: Gerome Ragni & James Rado.Directed by: Brenda Didier. At: Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport Ave. Tickets: ...


Gay News

THEATER SPOTLIGHT Gypsy 2017-08-16 - Reacquaint yourself with the musical theater world's ultimate "stage mother from hell" when Music Theater Works presents the 1959 Broadway classic Gypsy. The ...


Gay News

George Takei in Chicago on Sept. 7 2017-08-16 - In conjunction with its first original exhibition "Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII and the Demise of Civil ...


Gay News

'Cards Against Humanity' Aug. 25 2017-08-16 - Cards Against Humanity Live will return one night only on Friday, Aug. 25, at 8 p.m. at The Greenhouse Theater Center ( downstairs ...


Gay News

'Bewildered' cast announced 2017-08-16 - Hell in a Handbag Productions, celebrating its 15th-anniversary season, has announced casting for the world premiere of Bewildered—a musical parody of the classic ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.