Casting is announced today for the UK premiere of Hir, written by Taylor Mac (24-Decade History of Popular Music) and directed by Nadia Fall (Disgraced), which runs at London’s Bush Theatre 15 June to 22 July 2017, with a press night on 20 June.
Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who, Broadchurch, Once) will play Isaac, Griffyn Gilligan (Teddy Ferrara) plays younger sibling Max, Ashley McGuire (Shopping and F***ing, The Suicide) will play their mom Paige and Andy Williams (The 39 Steps, War Horse) plays her husband Arnold.
After winning acclaim in New York, this play from one of America’s most dynamic and distinctive voices comes to London in a new production. Pulitzer Prize finalist Taylor Mac is a multi-award-winning writer and performance artist at the forefront of alternative responses to American culture. Author of seventeen full-length plays, Mac won rave reviews for the extraordinary 24 hour durational concert, A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, which reframed and re-enacted 240 years of US history (an extract was performed at LIFT Festival 2016). In Hir, Mac tears apart the kitchen sink genre by challenging gender expectations and subverting all notions of the typical American family.
Isaac gets home from serving in the marines to find war has broken out back home. Fed up with her broken American Dream, mom Paige has stopped washing, cleaning and caring for their ailing father. Once the breadwinner, dad Arnold has suffered a stroke and toppled from the head of the household to a mere puppet in the new regime. Ally to their mother is Isaac’s sibling Max. Only last time Isaac checked, Max was Maxine.
In Central Valley, in a cheap house made of plywood and glue, notions of masculinity and femininity become weapons with which to defeat the old order. But in Taylor Mac’s sly, subversive comedy, annihilating the past doesn’t always free you from it.
Hir is written by Taylor Mac, directed by Nadia Fall and designed by Ben Stones. Lighting design is by Eliott Griggs with sound design by Elena Peña. Fight direction is by Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown of RC-Annie Ltd.
Arthur Darvill (Isaac) is best known for his roles in the television series Doctor Who and Broadchurch. On stage his credits include Treasure Island (National Theatre), Once (West End/ Broadway), Our Boys and Swimming With Sharks (West End), Soft Cops (Royal Shakespeare Company), Doctor Faustus (Shakespeare’s Globe), Terre Haute (Edinburgh Festival Fringe/ West End/ National Tour) and Stacy (Arcola Theatre). Other television includes Legends of Tomorrow, Danny and The Human Zoo, The White Queen, The Paradise, Little Dorritt, He Kills Coppers and The Verdict. His film credits include Robin Hood, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll and Pelican Blood. He composed the music for Artefacts and several further productions at the Bush Theatre as an associate artist, along with productions elsewhere including Fantastic Mr Fox (Nuffield Theatre /Lyric Hammersmith/ Leicester Curve), I Want My Hat Back (National Theatre), Lightning Child and The Frontline (Shakespeare’s Globe), Stoopud Fucken Animals (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), Crazy Love (Paines Plough) and Is Everyone Ok? (Nabokov). His musical Been So Long (Young Vic Theatre/ English Touring Theatre), written with Che Walker, has been adapted for the screen and is currently in production.
Griffyn Gilligan (Max) performed in Teddy Ferrara at the Donmar Warehouse. He is a founding member of the ensemble Ponyboy Curtis (The Yard/ New Diorama, Camden People’s Theatre). Griffyn has worked on various workshops and developments, including BULLISH (Milk Presents/ Lyric Hammersmith/ Camden People’s Theatre), Antigonna (Young Vic), Weaklings (Chris Goode & Company/ Warwick Arts Centre) and an upcoming project with The Royal Exchange/ Chris Goode & Company.
Ashley McGuire (Paige) has previously worked with director Nadia Fall on several productions including The Suicide, Our Country’s Good and Home (National Theatre). Further National Theatre credits include Light Shining in Buckinghamshire and An Oak Tree. Elsewhere, stage work includes the role of Falstaff in Henry IV (Donmar Warehouse), Shopping and F***ing (Lyric Hammersmith), Re-Charged – Fatal Light (Clean Break/ Soho Theatre) and Housekeeping (Theatre Uncut). For television, she has appeared in This Country, Decline and Fall, In the Club, The IT Crowd Special: The Internet is Coming, The Job Lot, Derek, Miranda and has played recurring roles in Man Down (Series 1-3), Dead Boss and Coronation Street. Film credits include David Brent: Life on the Road and Bridget Jones’ Baby.
Andy Williams’ (Arnold) work in the West End includes The 39 Steps and War Horse. More recently he appeared in Kneehigh’s Rebecca (Theatre Royal, Plymouth & Tour) and previously performed in the company’s production of Nights at the Circus. Further theatre credits include Grand Guignol (Theatre Royal, Plymouth/Southwark Playhouse), A Christmas Carol (Royal Theatre, Northampton), Ben Hur (Watermill Theatre), Judgement Day (Almeida Theatre), Noel Coward’s Brief Encounter and The Play What I Wrote (David Pugh Productions), Russian Roulette (The Featherstonhaughs & the Cholmondeleys), A Matter of Life and Death, Peer Gynt and Romeo and Juliet (National Theatre), The Hobbit (Vanessa Ford Productions), More Grimm Tales (Young Vic/ New Victory Theatre, New York/ Sydney Festival), As I Lay Dying, Twelfth Night and The Jungle Book (Young Vic), A Comedy of Errors (RSC/ UK Tour/ International Tour) and Bouncers (Hull Truck). On television he has appeared in Agatha Raisin: The Walkers of Dembley, Waking the Dead, Wire in the Blood, The Ghost Squad and Grown Ups.
Taylor Mac (playwright) – who uses “judy” (lowercase, sic) not as a name but as a gender pronoun – is an actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director and producer. Judy’s work has been performed at New York City’s Lincoln Center, The Public Theatre and Playwrights Horizons, Los Angeles’s Royce Hall, Minneapolis’s Guthrie Theater, Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, the Sydney Opera House, Boston’s American Repertory Theatre, Stockholm’s Sodra Theatern, the Spoleto Festival, San Francisco’s Curran Theater and MOMA, amongst others. Judy is the author of seventeen full-length plays and performance pieces including A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, Hir (placed on the top ten theatre of 2015 lists of The New York Times, New York Magazine, and Time Out NY), The Lily’s Revenge, The Walk Across America for Mother Earth, The Young Ladies Of, Red Tide Blooming, The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac, and in collaboration with Mandy Patinkin, Susan Stroman and Paul Ford The Last Two People On Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville. Mac is a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama and the recipient of multiple awards including the Kennedy Prize, a NY Drama Critics Circle Award, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Guggenheim, the Herb Alpert in Theater, the Peter Zeisler Memorial Award, the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, an Obie, and the Ethyl Eichelberger Award.
Nadia Fall (director) returns to the Bush Theatre following Disgraced. She has directed numerous productions at the National Theatre including The Suicide, Our Country’s Good, Dara, Chewing Gum Dreams, Home, Hymn and The Doctor’s Dilemma. Further directing credits include R&D (Hampstead Theatre), Way Upstream (Chichester Festival Theatre), Hobson’s Choice (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), How Was it for You? (Unicorn Theatre) and The Maids (Lyric Hammersmith). She has led participation initiatives with partners such as the Young Vic, Clean Break, Soho Theatre and the Royal Court. She is also an acting coach, supporting professional actors for film and stage.
Ben Stones (designer) has designed extensively for theatre and dance and returns to the Bush Theatre following The Kitchen Sink. Previous work with Nadia Fall includes The Suicide (National Theatre), Way Upstream (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Hobson’s Choice (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre). Other credits include Into The Hoods: Remixed, The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and Some like it Hip Hop (ZooNation), Kiss Of The Spider Woman (Donmar Warehouse), The Silence of the Sea (Donmar Trafalgar), An Enemy of the People (Sheffield Crucible) and The Lady In The Van (National Tour). In 2011 he won the MEN award for Best Design for Doctor Faustus at the Royal Exchange, Manchester.