The Humans introduces audiences to the Blake family. Breaking with tradition, Erik Blake has brought his family to celebrate Thanksgiving at his daughter’s lower Manhattan apartment. As darkness falls, and wine flows, tensions reach a boiling point, and the unspoken pressures facing the Blake clan simmer to the surface. The Humans presents a keenly observed reflection of middle class North America today, and the painful undercurrent of fear and insecurity simmering below the quotidian.

Each character is someone you will most likely recognize from within your inner circle of family and friends, or at least within six degrees of separation. The underlying circumstances are gritty and real depictions of life that we all must endure at some point ourselves – losing a job, getting by on minimum wage, caring for ageing parents, infidelity, family squabbles, and forced gatherings.

Over the course of 90 minutes, there”s a wealth of emotions that can run through audience members, yet each being uniquely different. While some choose to laugh, others remain somber, yet for the same scenario. The laughs are sometimes out of nervousness, fear, uncertainty, or simple hilarious situations. What one takes away from this production is entirely personal to them. While some may enjoy the connection knowing others are experiencing what they might be dealing with in real life, others may want to avoid these harsh realities in preference for something of a lighter fare. Overall, it’s a strong production worth seeing, as long as your rollercoaster of emotions can handle the real struggles of life as depicted on stage.

Following a year on stage in New York City, Canadian Stage and co-producer Citadel Theatre (Edmonton), presented the Canadian premiere of this multiple Tony Award-winning family comedy-drama in Edmonton last month. It’s written by OBIE Award winner and two-time Pulitzer prize finalist Stephen Karam. Directed by former Shaw Festival Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell, and starring Sara Farb, Alana Hawley, Richard Lee, Laurie Paton, Ric Reid, and Maralyn Ryan.

Maxwell stated, “The Humans is absolutely what it is titled – human. It is both a beautifully quick-witted comedy and a very current drama about the anxiety surrounding middle class life, all brilliantly rendered by Karam in 90 minutes of unbroken real time. Any audience member will recognize our onstage family, but along with that recognition will also come some true surprises!”

Canadian Stage Artistic and General Director Matthew Jocelyn, commented, “We are equally thrilled to have the wonderful Jackie Maxwell at the helm of this project, a director of deep empathy who has assembled a beautiful cast. Stephen Karam’s unique gift is in how he counterpoints astute psychological realism with razor sharp comedy, allowing the audience to laugh through the hard, often all too familiar, truths of human experience.”

The Humans is on stage at the Bluma Appel Theatre, St Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St E, Toronto, until February 25.

Performances run Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 8:00pm, Fridays at 7:00pm, and matinees on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 1:00 pm. The performance runs approximately 90 minutes. Tickets from $39 to $99 by phone at 416.368.3110, or in person at the Berkeley Street box office.

Facebook: Canadian Stage | Twitter/Instagram: @CanadianStage | #csTheHumans
Website: www.canadianstage.com/TheHumans

 

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.