DIRECTOR Anthea Williams is holding auditions to cast a young trans actor for a production of Taylor Mac’s Hir, a play dealing with gender roles within a family.
The play features an abusive father force-fed hormones and dressed in drag by his wife after he has a stroke. Their youngest child Max is transitioning and uses the gender-neutral pronoun ‘hir’ (pronounced ‘here’).
Williams will hold auditions around Australia in January to cast a young trans man as Max.
“I love that [playwright Mac] has taken this kitchen sink drama and turned the volume up so much,” Williams said. “It’s so absurd, and absolutely mad, and yet so real at the same time.”
Lucky Price, a trans man working on the play as a casting consultant, said casting a trans person as Max is essential as a matter of visibility.
“It’s so basic,” Price said.
“Can I see myself represented in media? Do I exist? It’s about visibility.
“We historically have a terrible problem with creating visibility for a lot of minorities in this country. We’re starting to get better at it, and a good place to start is by actually casting the right people.
“If one kid has the opportunity to see even a small part of them reflected back, to create some sense of belonging, that’s everything.”
Williams contrasts this with the high-profile cisgender actors often cast in trans roles for film, such as Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl and Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club.
“I think the reason you cast Eddie Redmayne is because Eddie Redmayne is going to sell tickets,” she said.
“That’s exactly why when you have an opportunity to cast a trans actor, you should. Because you should be trying to build up a diverse community of actors who can sell tickets.”
Other crew members will also be trans. “It’s to make sure we don’t have this 17-year-old, this young person who’s possibly in the middle of transitioning, as the only person in the room with that experience,” said Williams.
Max’s father in the play will be played by Greg Stone, father of young trans advocate Georgie Stone, who was awarded Victorian GLBTI Person of the Year 2016.
Hir will play at Sydney’s Belvoir St Theatre in 2017.