Weeks after pulling a scheduled play due to sexual misconduct allegations against celebrated playwright Israel Horovitz, Tampa’s Jobsite Theater has announced a replacement. Hir by Taylor Mac will run March 9-April 1, the period originally scheduled for Horovitz’s Man in Snow.
Mac is a playwright of growing renown, a Pulitzer finalist (for A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, a show that lasted 24 hours) and the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "Genius" grant. Hir is a comedy that follows an aging mother who has decided, with the help of her transgender son, to take out the patriarchy. The title also mirrors the gender-neutral pronoun (pronounced hee-ir).
The replacement comes in light of a November story in the New York Times that documented reports of nine women who said they had been sexually assaulted by Horovitz, 78, in actions ranging from groping to rape. The Times story quoted the playwright saying he remembered events differently but wanted to "apologize with all my heart to any woman who has ever felt compromised by my actions, and to my family and friends who have put their trust in me."
In recent years, Jobsite had forged a close relationship with Horovitz, working with him on several plays. Leaders decided the same day they heard about the allegations to cancel Man in Snow.
In selecting Hir, Jobsite’s board ended up taking a play that was originally in the mix for this season but had been put off until 2018-19, producing artistic director David Jenkins wrote in an email.
"We didn’t specifically look for a play to offer as a ‘response’ to the Horovitz situation, but clearly we had internal conversations about what we were going to do, what we were responsible for/who to, and what we were trying to say — if anything — with a replacement."
The show’s role of Max is required by contract to be played by a transgender actor, Jenkins said, adding, "I am very confident we can cast that role."
Contact Andrew Meacham at [email protected] or (727) 892-2248. Follow @torch437.