After a dishonorable discharge from the military for drug-related offenses, Isaac returns home from Afghanistan, expecting to confront his abusive father, protect his mother and sister, and relax into his old bedroom. His expectations are dashed, as he walks into a different kind of chaos. Father Arnold, having suffered a stroke, has turned into a helpless, childlike creature. Mother Paige, excited by this overthrow of the patriarchy, refuses to clean, and feeds Arnold a milkshake mixed with estrogen to keep him docile. And little sister Max, having come out as transgender, has begun to grow a beard. Paige welcomes Isaac home to the “new regime” with eager, if not open, arms, more than willing to educate him on the brave new post-gender world -- even though in the process, she is appropriating the experience of her child Max. Isaac, however is on shaky mental ground, scarred by his years in Mortuary Services, and reacts badly to the changes in his family, desperate to exert control and rebuild something resembling the life he knew -- even if this means reinstating Arnold in his place of prominence beside the television. When waning male privilege and PTSD collide with clown makeup and radical Faerie commune dreams, the result is explosive. Taylor Mac’s hilarious and terrifying Hir is a dysfunctional family dramedy for a new era, a highly intelligent, tenderly heartfelt, and deeply, darkly humorous portrayal of a family in crisis, in which domestic abuse, the trauma of war, and the acceptance of gender neutrality are illustrated in a nearly absurd, emotionally gripping, intensely real dynamic. With shadow puppets.
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