7 December 2018
A basement tenement apartment in Manhattan’s Chinatown where Brigid Blake has recently moved with her boyfriend Richard. Her parents and grandmother from Pennsylvania, and her sister from Philadelphia have come to visit them to celebrate Thanksgiving together. Gradually we learn about the problems of a troubled lower-middle-class American family, presented in juicy, occasionally sarcastic or even tragicomic dialogues.
Using documentary-like naturalism the play depicts the way we live now, highlighting the lives of the non-privileged individuals, not the elite, but the average members of society living in precarious circumstances with an uncertain future. Brigid’s parents, Frank and Deirdre, are a couple who has struggled hard all their life to support a family. They have issues that surface early in the play. As of late they have to take care of Erik’s demented mother Momo, confined to a wheelchair, since they cannot afford to hire professional help. In terms of the American dream paradigm, their daughters Brigid and Aimee »have made it« and climbed higher than their parents on a social ladder: Aimee is a lawyer who is about to lose her job due to a sick leave; Brigid is an aspiring composer stuck in a vicious circle of re-paying her student loan by doing several odd waitressing jobs. Her boyfriend Richard comes from a slightly better-off family and studies social work. Following a premiere in Chicago. The Humans by Stephen Karam transferred to Broadway in 2014. A finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, it won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Play. It explores the vulnerability and life of an average person, along the lines of s contemporary family- drama genre. Skillfully wrought, the play presents tensions and anxieties embedded in the unseen life of many an ordinary contemporary family.
A family dinner is one of the social contexts eliciting a plethora of different emotions. For some it may be a duty, for others a matter of desire, a need or simply a habit. Regardless of one’s point of departure, a family dinner is invariably wrought with animated intensity. A whole range of emotional expressions may surface: laughter, bickering, arrogance, screaming, singing, crying, teasing, remembering, condescension and genuine concern. In a family circle, one ultimately ends up facing oneself. Children recognize themselves in their parents, and vice versa. We are most frustrated by those character traits we possess ourselves.