Theatre is about being human
Family is everything, and nothing matters more in this world.
‘The Humans’ cannot stress this enough, and portrays this theme beautifully in a well-acted, well laid out, poignant way.
‘The Humans’ is a play written by Stephen Karam, following the lives of the Blakes during Thanksgiving. The youngest daughter, Brigid (played by Lili Beaudoin), has moved to a duplex with her boyfriend, Richard (played by Shekhar Paleja).
The couple is excited about the space as they live in New York and space is hard to come by.
The play opens with the patriarch, Erik (played by Ric Reid), listening to the upstairs neighbour stomping around. He seems on edge and bothered by the noise.
The rest of the family members come through the door, and it turns out that Erik has not been sleeping well due to nightmares and a bad back.
Momo Blake (played by Barbara Gordon) is in a wheelchair and has dementia. She does not have a moment of clarity within the play but certainly enjoys a glass of champagne as the family celebrates the move.
Each member of the family has their own problems, and they are slowly revealed.
The mother, Deirdre (played by Elinor Holt), has arthritis and can come down harshly on her youngest daughter, while ignoring her own emotional health.
The sister, Aimee (played by Ayla Stephen), is heartbroken due to a harsh breakup and has just lost her job due to ulcerative colitis.
Brigid is living off of unemployment cheques while she searches for a career in writing music.
Erik describes his dream of a woman who has his back to him but when she turns around, her eyes and mouth are covered with skin.
This may be a result of the guilt he is feeling, as he has cheated on his wife and has lost his pension in the process. He and Deirdre are barely scraping it together due to his misconduct so he is working at a Walmart in another town.
The play has a two floor open concept so one can see every room. It’s like one is part of the play.
Audience member Justin Poonwah said, “For a good portion of the play I forgot I was watching a scripted scene.”
A standout performance for every cast member, with Aimee being the comic relief but having the most tragic story. The daughters poke fun at their mother who only takes the jests to heart. There is an underlying theme of money, with both daughters in student debt. Erik gets angry when he learns that Rich has a trust fund due to him at the age of 40. The family learns that Rich suffered with depression when he was younger, and instead of being supportive, Erik says that the family has never had depression. Aimee describes it as “stoic sadness.”
Poonwah described the play as “A bunch of people who were all dealing with their own stuff, and who were hurting each other, but who all loved one another.”
The central theme of this play is family sticking together. Despite the troubles each and every person faces, they remain together, supporting, loving, and caring.