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Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Karam’

The Humans

This excellent American import arrives from off-Broadway via Broadway & LA with the cast and creative team intact. They bring a heightened realism to Stephen Karam’s contemporary family saga which is a bit of a slow burn at first, but draws you in as it covers a whole host of both personal and wider societal issues.

Brigid and Richard invite her Irish American family from Scruton, Penn to Thanksgiving at their new NYC duplex, a roomy but somewhat grubby place on the wrong side of town. Dad Erik has a non-teaching job in a private school. His wife Deirdre is a much put-upon office manager, now taking orders from, and looking after, men less than half her age earning four times as much. They look after Erik’s mom, who has dementia. Brigid’s music career is going nowhere whilst she waits tables and claims benefits. Things have recently gone badly in both career and personal life for Brigid’s seemingly successful sister Aimee, a gay lawyer. Richard is still studying at 38, but comes from very different stock.

As the evening unfolds, their closeness as a family contrasts with their bitching and sniping, like most families (!), as recent dramatic events are revealed. There’s an air of mystery surrounding the proceedings, generated by the noises and lights of the building and the dreams of Erik and Richard, but though this adds atmosphere, it doesn’t add much more. Along the way, we get references to 9/11, American corporate values & loyalty and economic impact. It feels both a family saga and a comment on our times. There’s an authenticity and naturalism, largely due to a uniformly excellent American cast who’ve been with it now for some time. I found it enthralling.

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