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EMAV Review: Facing the inevitable with HIR @ Cockroach Theatre ★★★★☆

★★★★☆ - Delicious

HIR, by Taylor Mac, is an interesting if convoluted script. When workshopped under a program of New Dramatists it was described as a comedic tragedy about the way we care for our dying way of life.

Here, art doesn’t so much imitate life as much as it portrays the ugliness and cruelty that can be borne of ignorance and an obstinacy to change. It’s a tragedy to view such dysfunction. But, it’s real, it exists. We face it, or we succumb.

Under the direction of Christopher Brown, with few exceptions, the production is top-notch. From Shannon Bradley’s set, Ace Van Acker’s lighting, to the props and costumes, there’s not much to call them on.

Valerie Carpenter-Bernstein as Paige is something to marvel at. Act 1 is pretty much hers. She’s got so many lines, you could almost call it a monologue as she rails against, and takes retribution on, her invalid husband. Deploring everything he stood for and everything she withstood from him, her rebellion is full-throttle. And Bernstein embraces it all with wild abandon. The sense of freedom she expresses permeates the room. Still, Act 2 brings a revelation that her world is crumbling around her and Bernstein’s entire countenance sags under the weight.