79

Hir NYC Reviews and Tickets

79%
(61 Reviews)
Positive
89%
Mixed
8%
Negative
3%
Members say
Edgy, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Funny, Clever

About the Show

Playwrights Horizons presents a comedy about a former housewife forging a deliriously liberated world for her children: Isaac, a former Marine; and Max, who is sculpting a third-sex gender identity for hirself.

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Member Reviews (61)

70
Middling, Cliched, Entertaining

See it if overall entertaining enough. The theme is current.

Don't see it if overacted. Issue that's been done to death lately and not in a particularly original way.

2
Overrated, Derivative, Confused, Obvious, Disappointing

See it if you are a subscriber to Playwrights Horizons and can's use the tickets for another production. One of PH's worst shows ever!

Don't see it if you want to keep the ticket money in your wallet and want to do something meaningful with the two hours you will waste at "Hir."

Critic Reviews (33)

November 8th, 2015

"Mr. Mac’s audacious and uproarious black comedy, which opened at Playwrights Horizons in a crackling production, makes even the more extreme angst-amidst-the-chintz plays seem like demure drawing-room comedies of the 1950s...What is remarkable about 'Hir' is not its woolly, dark vision of an American family run amok, but the flawed and real humanity that simmers beneath all the surreal comedy."
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November 8th, 2015

"Patently metaphorical and threaded with nervy satire, 'Hir' at times suggests a modern inversion of David Rabe’s 'Sticks and Bones'...It has a ringing voice all its own, however, and formidable broad-mindedness in its sympathies (and its jabs). The upstairs theater at Playwrights Horizons may be too small for the aesthetic of Niegel Smith’s production...Some of the acting can seem overscaled. (Imperfection and excess, in fairness, are part of Mac’s artistic creed.)"
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November 8th, 2015

"In his other work, Mac’s maximalism has almost always paid off, not only in terms of gorgeous maquillage and feats of endurance but in his ambition for theater as a communal tool. But here, the huge kaleidoscope of attempted analysis — gender, class, political, aesthetic — makes it difficult to track his intentions. The somewhat chaotic production by Niegel Smith also gets in the way."
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November 8th, 2015

"Change, physical and otherwise, is at the center of 'Hir'... 'Hir' has a lot of ideas—necessary ideas, especially when it comes to flinging open closets in the 'trans' world—which spill over the edges of the play, but I wouldn’t take much out in order to make the show dramaturgically tighter or easier to absorb. The rudeness of its form is part of its power: you can’t build a clearer future without making a mess of the past."
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November 8th, 2015

"Mac clearly has serious things on his mind here, and his anarchic take on the kitchen-sink family drama, although hardly revelatory provides some amusement. But the thematic points quickly become repetitious...Director Niegel Smith lets the pace drag considerably, despite the play's running time of under two hours. On the other hand, there's Nielsen...Her sterling performance, and the fine work by the rest of the ensemble, nearly make up for the play's hollow posturing."
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November 8th, 2015

"Director Niegel Smith's production is intense and thoughtful, with a four-member cast that is collectively excellent...'Hir' isn't perfect (the speed of the who's-on-first-style word-and-action repetition is oftentimes wearying), but the play is sharp, shocking, and really, really funny while also vividly explorative of the depth of human emotions. Mac has crafted a piece that defies labels and categorization. 'Hir' is an audacious, important work that won't be easily forgotten."
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November 9th, 2015

"The writing has such verve and acid wit that it carries us along on contrasting tides of hilarity and anger right to the powerful, if open-ended, finale...'Hir' is hardly a perfectly constructed play - the ending, while gripping, leaves unclear how any of the characters can go forward - but it represents a noted talent striking out in a new direction to considerable effect...Mac's comic fury is more apposite than it at first seems."
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November 8th, 2015

"Under Smith's care, all of the actors are on point…But to what end? For the fascinating upending of the traditional living-room family comedy that Mac has effected, the underlying message is terrifyingly bleak…What's here is incomplete, a photo of something potentially interesting that is half-developed at best…It's impossible, then, to know exactly what to make of 'Hir.' It's so uncompromising that alternating reactions of adoration and revulsion would not be surprising."
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November 9th, 2015

"Mac’s relentlessly seriocomic dialogue is exquisitely crafted and the play is structurally accomplished...'Hir' is a provocative and often unsettling work that boldly explores present day issues in the United States with grim flair."
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November 13th, 2015

"Mac’s tragicomedy couldn’t be more gender-laden, and yet it’s really furor that drives 'Hir.' It offers no easy answers but serves up lots of questions. It also balances comedy with drama in a proportion that just about always seems right. Director Niegel Smith gets excellent performances not just from Nielsen but from the rest of the cast as well."
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November 8th, 2015

"'Hir' is a wildly ambitious attempt to create a cohesive whole out of a merger of issues…Unfortunately it's not consistently edgy and clearly detailed enough to make 'Hir' as momentously deep and far-reaching a deconstruction of conventional family dramas as it wants to be...The problem is that the whole concept fizzles in the depressingly dark and essentially go-nowhere second act."
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November 9th, 2015

"There is absolutely nothing subtle about 'Hir.' The ideas in the script are there to slap us and shake us out of our comfort zone...Mac is too perceptive a writer to pretend to have the answers to any of the questions asked in the show, and director Niegel Smith takes full advantage of this by staging the play as a John Waters/Tennessee Williams hybrid, in which powerful symbolism is only subverted by the vulgarity through which it’s expressed."
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November 10th, 2015

"The very conventionality of the box Mac has packed them in feels like a provocation, a trigger for the events that are about to occur—and it’s a credit to Mac that despite the currents of rage swirling through the family, the play is still frequently hilarious. At the same time, the absurdity feels spread over a hollow core; once you take away the surface layer of chaos, there’s not much left. The characters seem mostly built of their tics."
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November 8th, 2015

"Taylor Mac’s absurd, antic, dark, affecting, and very funny family drama...'Hir' is only simple on the surface — Mac’s bid to write a conventional family drama in an unconventional way. It’s rich in allusion, layered with meaning, aesthetically and politically sly, and pervasively weird. If it’s unsettling, it’s not because of its weirdness, but because of Mac’s precise and accurate insights into each member of the family."
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November 17th, 2015

"Actress Kristine Nielsen is perhaps the stage’s greatest portrayer of 'eccentric' women, off-kilter souls who both make us erupt in hysterics and feel ever-so-slightly-bad for them. But Nielsen can also be powerful, heartbreaking, and vulnerable – and she’s all of the above, plus magnificently eccentric, in Taylor Mac’s audacious new play 'Hir' at Playwrights Horizons...Nielsen and her excellent co-stars make sure that, even through some uproarious laughter, we are all listening."
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November 21st, 2015

"The dialogue abounds in jargon-laced gender identity talk, but for all the spirited comic energy with which it’s presented, a didactic aroma wafts over its satirical attack on conventional family relationships, the patriarchy’s downfall, and the myth of the gender binary...Everything is so overblown that you feel like you’ve wandered into a real nut house; if Ms. Nielsen had to interact with real people on the outside she’d be in a straitjacket before you could say Jack Nicholson."
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November 9th, 2015

"Niegel Smith directs this horrific tale like a rollercoaster of the mad and insane...This cast is terrific, but it is Ms. Nielsen who is a tour de force of insanity that grounds this play. This performance is award winning, riveting and savage. This is a hard play to watch, but it is hypnotic in it’s brutality."
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November 9th, 2015

"It appears as if 'Hir' is something of an autobiographical piece. It may or may not be, but it's a frenetic piece that rapidly becomes tiresome."
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November 8th, 2015

"This play might be called a kitchen sink drama, but the sink is filled with dirty dishes and the drama is covered by a thick layer of absurdist comedy...A certain amount of chaos is necessary to the play, but there was too much for my taste. Any play that offers Kristine Nielsen a starring role is worth seeing in my book, but this play puts that to the test. David Zinn’s set is a cluttered wonder. Gabriel Berry’s costumes suit their characters well. Director Niegel Smith’s direction is assured."
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November 9th, 2015

"The actors are, to a person, fine. Smith’s direction is multi-levelled and keeps the complex issues from becoming trite...The second act left me wondering why I was watching this as well as why the second act so blatantly slips off the edge and falls into the creek. There are so many issues at work here that Taylor Mac has spread himself mighty thin... In art, if we are asked to focus on multiple plots, each with equal weight, it is easy to get lost in the effort."
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November 26th, 2015

"Nielsen excels at playing eccentric—and often hilarious—women whose antics mask a deep yearning to be taken seriously. And there are moments when her Paige is almost frightening...The rest of the cast is a little uneven...I found these plays to be as depressing as all hell...And yet, both 'The Humans' and 'Hir' continued to haunt me in the weeks since I've seen them. I'm guessing that they'll be frontrunners when it comes time to award next year's Pulitzer Prize for Drama."
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November 9th, 2015

"A polemic instead of a play, 'Hir' is blessed with talented and committed actors who mine the text of playwright Taylor Mac for the humorous and complicated and real emotions that are buried underneath speeches and spectacle like I.E.D.s of life, little explosions of genuine drama illuminating what is all too often just a disconnected series of ideas...I am not very satisfied with this disjointed, rambling review but unfortunately it reflects the play I saw."
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November 8th, 2015

"It's fascinating and sad. (Of course, there were funny bits, and many of my fellow audience members were hollowing throughout, but I found the undercurrents devastatingly sad.)"
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November 9th, 2015

"Based on novelty alone, I found it fascinating...It’s a fine play, if at times difficult to get through while watching Paige (a terrific Kristine Nielsen) so loudly control the room after decades of staying quiet. I look forward to seeing more work in this newly emerging genre over the coming years."
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November 16th, 2015

"A superb new play by Taylor Mac...Taylor Mac treats his eccentric, yet somehow mainstream, characters with humor and respect. Under Niegel Smith’s direction, the ensemble is flawless. 'Hir' is a marvelous and must-be-seen play."
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November 11th, 2015

"Every actor plays the assigned part to perfection…The audience knows from the first that there’s something about the situation that is unspoken, and that this family is a volcano getting ready to erupt. Spectators have walked willingly into a nightmare. It’s up to us to decide whether or not we feel like enjoying the long day’s journey. There are many important questions raised."
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November 10th, 2015

"'Hir' is a funny, sharp, cutting play about family, gender, power and America. It is a play about the death of the patriarchy and the benefits and costs. It is about the mythology of the American Dream and the politics of today. The entire cast drives the play forward with breakneck performances."
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November 9th, 2015

"Taylor Mac’s intelligent nonetheless deliberately disorienting new play…If we don’t know either to giggle or cry during this spectacle, we think that’s how Mac likes it…An outrageous kaleidoscope of attempted research — gender, class, political, culture — creates a formidable lane to his intentions. The rather pell-mell prolongation by Niegel Smith also gets in a way."
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February 5th, 2014

"Although the wildly ambitious play doesn't cut close enough to the bone to be truly explosive, it's so bracingly funny and smart that it's easy to overlook the flaws...Some of the themes need to be fleshed out more fully...All of that said, 'Hir' is a devastatingly dark take on the primal need for a homecoming that's unsettling from start to finish."
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February 5th, 2014

"Gender isn't the only mutable element in Taylor Mac's hilarious and unsettling 'Hir.' Everything from family dynamics to theatrical genres is shifting...'Hir' challenges expectations on every level except that of providing engrossing entertainment, which it does to a remarkable degree. But be warned: The outrageous comedy and pointed satire in this battle of gender roles contains a tragic undertow with its own ambiguity about audience preconceptions in the end."
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March 1st, 2015

"Transgressive yet accessible, it's a script and a staging that you're likely to be talking about long after the curtain rings down...It's muddy from a plot perspective, and it's filled with characters who offer plenty to dislike. For all that, though, 'Hir' is slyly inviting and engaging in a wry manner that sneaks up on you...'Hir' is a challenging play. But it's also an enjoyable one. Equal parts chronicle and critique, it's a very smart, prescient story that both merits and rewards the brain power it demands."
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February 11th, 2014

"While 'Hir' is easily one of the most fresh and provocative pieces I've seen in several seasons, it still feels like unpolished work...I was excited by it right through the final few minutes, when the play's conflicts come to their inevitable explosion. There's a nihilist bleakness to Mac's ending that won't make anyone want to jump to their feet and cheer. And while it's his prerogative as playwright to take us there, it seems to me there are a lot more inspired places this otherwise inspired piece could have gone."
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March 4th, 2015

"Regardless of whether it ends up bewitching you or just weirding you out, it’s still a heck of a lot of fun to watch in action...'Hir' is disturbingly hilarious. In fact, as weird and deliberately absurd as it was, I was thoroughly enjoying myself...See 'Hir.' You’re probably not going to get a chance to see anything else quite like it this year."
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