“Humans,” written by Stephen Karam, opened off-Broadway in New York City in 2015 and then moved to Broadway in 2016. The play won a Tony Award for Best Play and was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Price. After seeing “Humans” at the Ahmanson, I totally understand why. This is a powerful, searing piece of theatre that will stay with you long after the curtain has gone down.
The one-act play takes place during a Thanksgiving dinner. The Blake family arrives at their daughter Brigid’s (the wonderful Sarah Steele) run-down apartment in Chinatown. Brigid, who is a musician, lives there with her boyfriend, Richard (Nick Mills).
Brigid’s father, Erik (Reed Birney, Tony Award-winner for Featured Actor in a play), and her mother, Deirdre (Jayne Houdyshell, Tony Award winner for Best Featured Actress in a play) have arrived from Scranton Pennsylvania. Along with them is Erik’s mother, Fiona (Lauren Klein) who has Alzheimer’s disease.
Also present at this dinner is Erik and Deirdre’s other daughter, Aimee (Cassie Beck), a lawyer living in Philadelphia. Aimee is quite distraught. Not only is she suffering from an intestinal disorder, but she has just broken up with her girlfriend which seems to have made her condition worse.
The parents are unhappy that their daughters have left home and have abandoned their religion. At the same time everyone, just like many Americans, is dealing with aging, loss, illness, a changing economy and insufficient funds for retirement. The play also touches upon the “things that go bump in the night”–our fears when we are alone in the dark.
Sounds depressing? Well, it’s not. In fact, the audience, as well as myself, did not stop laughing throughout the entire one act.
If you’re wondering how that’s possible, then you just have to go to see ‘”Humans,” now playing at the Ahmanson Theatre. This is the story of a family who, despite their struggles, love each other and are trying to keep it together while they move beyond their past mistakes. After all, that’s what it is to be human.
The set designed by David Zinn is incredible. Brigid and Richard’s apartment is a duplex, and the action takes place on both levels. Director Joe Mantello did a brilliant job with these extraordinary actors.
The Ahmanson is located at 135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles 90012. “Humans” opened on June 20, 2018 and runs through July 29, 2018. When: 8 p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m, Saturdays, 1 and 6:30 p.m Sundays. Tickets are $30-$130. To purchase call 213-972-4400 or go to the website.