October 26, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

REVIEW: The Absurd Realism of “Hir” at the Odyssey Theatre

Art is an escape mechanism; We go to museums and live performances to get away from reality, but what happens when life follows you to the stage and is exacerbated and warped into a sad,  dark comedy that vaguely reflects the raw emotion raging inside? You get the Odyssey’s “Hir.”

Described as hilarious and terrifying, “Hir” is a dysfunctional family dramedy for a new era: a highly intelligent, 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. Somewhere in the American suburbs, Isaac, dishonorably discharged from his tour in Afghanistan, has returned home to discover a household in revolt.

Watching “Hir” is uncomfortable and, at times, bleak. But that’s part of its charm. Sitting in the audience watching, it is hard to rebound from the absolute chaos of the set to the insanity of the characters themselves. When center character Isaac (Zack Gearing) returns from the war, he is just as lost as the audience; where is the strained yet familiar life he left behind three years ago? His stroke-surviving father has gone from raging domestic abuser to docile puppet for matriarch Paige (Cynthia Kania) and recently out transgender sibling Max (Puppett).

As the play unravels, so does each character in their own way – each facing their own unique demons. Max’s character as a transgender teen is raw and conflicting. Battling hormones, ghosts of the past and hopes for the future, ze (Max’s preferred pronoun) spends most of the play in a fit of rage that resembles that of most adolescences. It is emotional and relatable. Ze is unlikable, yet very lovable – proven as the plot progresses and the siblings’ relationship grows. 

Photo: Ron Sossi.
Actress Cynthia Kania in “Hir.”

Director Bart DeLorenzo said in an interview with the Pride L.A. that “Hir” doesn’t have an inherent message, but rather, it is an “experience that asks a question.”

“Through the lens of a suburban American family, the play takes the audience on a journey into the heart of this present political/social moment and shows the current struggle in all its complexity. Where will we go as a culture?” DeLorenzo said. “Retreating to some sort of oppressive patriarchal past, or stepping toward a very uncertain aspirational future? And what will we do with the past and those that can’t find their way? Like all great American plays, I think ‘Hir’ asks us to consider where we’re going.”

Performances of “Hir” take place on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. now through March 17. Additional weeknight performances are scheduled on Thursday, Jan 31; Wednesday, Feb. 20; and Wednesday, March 6, all at 8 p.m. Talkbacks with the cast follow the performances on Thursday, Jan. 31; Wednesday, Feb. 20; and Friday, Feb. 22. Tickets range from $32 to $37; there will be three “Tix for $10” performances, on Friday, Jan. 25; Thursday, Jan. 31; and Friday, Feb. 22. Friday, Feb. 22 is “College Night” and includes a pre-performance snacks on the patio for students as well as a post-performance discussion: $10 with valid student ID (use promo code COLLEGE). Additional discounts are available at select performances for seniors, students and patrons under 30; call theater for details.

The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025. For reservations and information, call (310) 477-2055 or go to OdysseyTheatre.com.

Related Posts

WeHo Launches “Masks Are…” PSA

October 25, 2020

October 25, 2020

The City of West Hollywood has had a mandatory face-covering requirement in effect since late May 2020 and has been...

Gays For Donald Trump March In WeHo

October 25, 2020

October 25, 2020

On Oct. 23 2020 a march, organized by the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay Republicans, rallied to proclaim...

LGBTQ Foster Youth In L.A. Falling Through The Cracks

October 18, 2020

October 18, 2020

A topic that has not garnered as much attention as it should is that of foster youth in Los Angeles...

WeHo Announces Virtual Drag Queen Story Hour

October 15, 2020

October 15, 2020

The City of West Hollywood brings to life an online hour like no other via Virtual Drag Queen Story Hour....

Hate Crime In MacArthur Park

October 7, 2020

October 7, 2020

Another transgender woman of color was brutally attacked in MacArthur Park in Los Angeles’ Westlake neighborhood on Sunday night after...

City Of WeHo Celebrates Disabilities Awareness Month

October 4, 2020

October 4, 2020

The City of West Hollywood and its Disabilities Advisory Board are hosting two events to recognize Disabilities Awareness Month, which...

2020 Tony Awards Will Be Virtual

September 27, 2020

September 27, 2020

Producers of the Tony Awards have announced that the 74th annual ceremony to honor the best on Broadway will be...

WeHo Bar Gold Coast Closing Permanently

September 27, 2020

September 27, 2020

Gold Coast, one of the oldest gay bars in West Hollywood, is closing permanently after 39 years.  The Gold Coast...

“The Mismatch Game” Hosted By Dennis Hensley Is Going To Zoom

September 23, 2020

September 23, 2020

With COVID restrictions affecting several businesses and theater spaces throughout the Los Angeles area many have had to make adjustments. ...

Helen Albert Farmers’ Market To Reopen

September 20, 2020

September 20, 2020

The City of West Hollywood will reopen the Helen Albert Certified Farmers’ Market at Plummer Park from 9 a.m. to...

WeHo Cooling Center At Plummer Park

September 17, 2020

September 17, 2020

With temperatures expected to rise to more than 90 degrees over the next week, the City of West Hollywood will...

Golden Girls Puppet Parody

September 17, 2020

September 17, 2020

Jonathan Rockefeller, acclaimed American/Australian producer, director, and writer, has announced that 16 new, original episodes of That Golden Girl Show!...

Los Angeles CEO Jeffrey Previte Caught Beating Dog

September 12, 2020

September 12, 2020

Jeffrey Previte, the CEO of EBI Consulting an environmental consulting firm in Los Angeles, was captured on camera at the...

Rage Nightclub Permanently Closing

September 10, 2020

September 10, 2020

After 37 years Rage nightclub located at the northwest corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente in West Hollywood...

LGBTQ Center Long Beach Fires Executive Director Porter Gilberg

September 6, 2020

September 6, 2020

The Board of Directors of the LGBTQ Center Long Beach announced that it will not renew the employment contract of...