THE HUMANS starts off like a typical “Thanksgiving family reunion” drama, but what Stephen Karam (Author of SONS OF THE PROPHET) has up his sleeve is much more insidious; the genre is actually closer to a “horror play” and the terror is slowly built by our post-911, post-Hurricane Sandy, survival-mode ethos. He has defined our world as one in which the very character of our culture creates situations where we are trapped in a downward spiral until we are facing demons from our nightmares. Along the way he takes on Health Care, Business Practices, Financial Crises and the cost of retribution. This is scary stuff, indeed.
Reed Birney, as the patriarch, gives a nuanced, painful performance as he falls from grace. Jayne Houdyshell is the heart and broken soul of the family and Lauren Klein, as the dementia riddled Momo, adds an element of surreal angst to the evening with her wails, all beautifully directed by Joe Mantello. David Zinn’s set is a perfect claustrophobic split level Chinatown building that was once much grander, but now is hacked to pieces, haunted by sounds, lights and ghosts.
This play stuck with me for days after I saw it. Maybe it’s because of the personal challenges in my life, but it shook me to the core and left me with a depression that was hard to exorcise. You have been warned.