Thalía Dudek: QX interviews the actor playing Max in HIR at Park Theatre, 15 Feb – 16 Mar.

Thalía Dudek interview, the actor who plays Max in Hir at the Park Theatre.
HIR Rehearsals: Thalía Dudek (Pamela Raith Photography).

Thalía Dudek is a critically acclaimed actor who plays the role of Max, the transgender teenage child to Felicity Huffman’s Paige in Taylor Mac’s play HIR at the Park Theatre, 15 February to 16 March. HIR is a strikingly original comedy which explodes the dysfunctional family drama and reinvents it for our times. The play was named by the New York Times as one of the 25 most influential works of postwar queer literature. Thalia is a trailblazing non-binary actor, and QX was fortunate enough to nab an interview during their busy rehearsal schedule. 

Thalía, thank you for taking the time to join this interview. Please tell us something about your early life and when you first decided that it was to be an actor’s life for you.

It was, funnily, very early on. I initially wanted to be a geologist, but then, when I was seven, I had this strange little epiphany of “I have to be an actor”. And I’ve never wavered since.

You are an acclaimed actor on both stage and screen. Did you ever think such success would come in your career?

‘Success’ is a strange word. The beauty of this profession is that you’re always chasing something. For me, ‘success’ is defined by being able to do this day-in, day-out, and be a part of projects and stories that are important and that feel bigger than me.

Of all your accomplishments, which has been the most challenging and which has been the most rewarding?

I’ve been lucky enough to be challenged in almost every project I’ve been a part of. I would honestly say the most rewarding journeys have been where I’ve been the least experienced in the room and have had the opportunity to watch and play with incredible artists. My work on Confessions with Alexander Zeldin and HIR would take the biscuit in that regard.

Rehearsals with Thalía Dudek in Hir
HIR Rehearsals: Felicity Huffman and Thalía Dudek (Pamela Raith Photography).

What appealed to you about Taylor Mac’s play HIR and your role as Max?

When I first read it, I hated it. But then I read it again. And again. And again. And I realised that Taylor Mac has done something that few plays are willing to do. Judy’s pushed the form of naturalism to it’s breaking point and you’re taken on a whirlwind saga with this family who have to relearn how to care for each other. Or at least try to. I love how the play doesn’t give you any easy answers; it’s a play that asks something of its audience, and requires you to engage. For me, that’s the power of theatre. And Max is a beautiful, complex, frustrated, funny little bean that – hopefully – makes it out the other side.

“I still struggle with feeling ‘queer’ enough.” – Thalía Dudek

Emmy and Golden Globe award winner and Academy Award nominee Felicity Huffman plays your mother, Paige. Did you find that at all daunting?

Of course! She’s a force of nature. The whole cast are insanely talented. I remember getting the press release from my agent before it went public and I googled EVERYONE! In comparison to Steffan, Felicity, and Simon, I am still finding my feet, and I was definitely nervous. But the craft and rigour they bring to their work means you just have to hold your breath and jump off the cliff with them because, at the end of the day, you’re all there for the same reason.

Steven Kunis in Hir rehearsals with Thalía Dudek.
HIR Rehearsals (Pamela Raith Photography).

The critically acclaimed director, Steven Kunis, has recently directed very successful LGBTQ+ themed productions in London (Afterglow and F**cking Men). What is it like working with him? 

Steven brings an academic lens to the work that has been really interesting to discover. And the team he has assembled is phenomenal. In a play of this size, scope, and complexity, one of the hardest things can be making sure your cast and crew share your vision. He’s also a lovely man, and we always know we have hit our marks when we hear him giggle from the sideline.

Are there any other projects you are currently involved in that our readers might like to know about, and what plans do you have for the future?

After HIR, I’m set to shoot a film about a band in the 90s – a huge shift from little Max! After that, who knows. The nature of this life is that it could all change in an instant, so for now, I’m focussing on the next six weeks with Max.

And finally, what words would you like to share with young LGBTQ+ actors?

I’d say that community can be found anywhere. As a AFAB (Assigned Female At Birth) non-binary person who is also straight, I still struggle with feeling “queer” enough. But if you stay open, work hard, and allow yourself to be fully seen, you’ll find your people. And they should be so lucky xx.

Buy tickets from £10 for HIR:

HIR is at Park Theatre, 15 February to 16 March, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP, United Kingdom.


QX interviews Gareth Watkins, writer and performer of The Gentleman Of Shalott at The Hope Theatre, 6 – 17 Feb.



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