The Humans at Hennepin Theatre Trust
Hennepin Theatre Trust continues their trend in bringing the Tony Award winner for Best Play to the Twin Cities. I believe last season was the first time they did this with the play The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night Time. This year Stephen Karam turn with his award winning play, The Humans. I was very intrigued going into this production for one main reason: it was a play...and it was at the Orpheum. I personally have never seen a play there before. I'm used to big flashy musicals with dance numbers and numerous costume changes. This was an interesting change of pace for what I'm normally used to seeing.
The Humans takes place in an apartment in New York City, specifically lower Manhattan, during a families seemingly harmless Thanksgiving dinner. Erik Blake, the father of the family, breaks tradition and changes it up this year by bringing the family to his daughters apartment in NYC versus having everyone over to theirs in Pennsylvania. As the day continues, the Blake family soon realizes that everyone has their secrets and their deepest fears soon come to reality.
Let me start by saying that I've been writing for many years. I work in public relations which means I basically write and communicate for a living. However my skill level as a writer is no where near the caliber it should be to explain how utterly amazing this play is.This beautiful script is written by Stephen Karam and deserves every award it won including Best Play for the Tony Awards, New York Drama Critics Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and the Drama League Award. A semi finalist for the Pulitzer for Drama as well!
The production was a refreshing take on the human connection, especially between family members. It deals with sickness, loss, religion, the economy and more themes that no matter where you come from, you'll end up saying "Oh that so sounds like my family." This new American classic will, and should, be studied in every single theatre undergraduate class available with it's riveting dialogue and exceptional raw scenes. It was relatable, real, raw and full of emotion that had me hooked from start to finish. I will admit, I don't see plays too often. A large majority of the shows I see are musicals and this play rejuvenated my drive to see more powerful stories like this.
While it was full of emotion, it had a lot of comedic moments as well which I loved. Some of the lines a little darker than others but the comedic timing and acting of the cast made it simply superb. Speaking of the cast, could they have been more incredible? There family dynamics and chemistry were so on point, you'd think they were actually real life blood related. The cast really brings Karam's scenes to life as they fight one moment only to laugh and change the topic the next. I think we can all relate to these scenes so well with our own families which makes this production all the more relatable.
Couple highlights from the cast specifically include Pamela Reed who plays the mother, Deirdre Blake, of the family and she's probably my favorite. Her delivery, dedication to her kids and love for them shined through the entire production. Richard Thomas plays the father, Erik Blake, and proves to be a perfect father figure with the perfect amount of love for his daughters. Together these two form a beautiful couple, who despite their issues (won't spoil it) they seem to always try to put their family first. Lauren Klein plays, who plays Fiona "Momo" Blake, is the ailing grandmother with Alzheimer. While she is quiet or sleeping for a majority of the show, her character is so important to the overall dynamics between everyone. She also was in the original cast on Broadway!
The Humans runs about 95 minutes and has no intermission. Typically Broadway plays don't go on a National Tour so you know that it's got to be fantastic just for that fact alone. Tickets for this production are still available and can be bought here. The Humans runs through Feb. 13 - Feb. 18.
SIDE NOTE/FUN FACT: I think it's hilarious that on the eve of Valentine's Day (aka Galentine's Day) I saw a play with Pamela Reed who plays Leslie Knope's mother on the hit show Parks and Recreation.