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The Humans


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"A middle-class family seems to be spiraling toward perilous entropy in The Humans, the blisteringly funny, bruisingly sad and altogether wonderful play by Stephen Karam ... Written with a fresh-feeling blend of documentarylike naturalism and theatrical daring...Mr. Karam's comedy-drama depicts the way we live now with a precision and compassion unmatched by any play I've seen in recent years.
... The Humans is a major discovery, a play as empathetic as it is clear-minded, as entertaining as it is honest. For all the darkness at its core -- a darkness made literal in its ghostly conclusion -- a bright light shines forth from it, the blazing luminescence of collective artistic achievement."
--Charles Isherwood, The New York Times

"Great plays are usually great in one of two ways. Either they are culminating examples of existing ideas, or groundbreaking examples of new things entirely.
... The Humans, it turns out, is not just one of those culminating genre pieces but also, at the same time, one of those "new things entirely." Into the familiar dinner-table-drama genre the playwright has mixed the unexpected element of terror -- or, rather, he has created a new element by bombarding one with the other. I should add that, for all this, the play is rackingly funny even as it pummels the heart and scares the bejesus out of you."
--Jesse Green, New York Magazine ..".what is so amazing about The Humans (and this is a really amazing new play) is that while Karam's writing never romanticizes these characters nor minimizes the struggles of those who find themselves lower-middle class and older in years in today's increasingly elitist and divisive America, he focuses on their connections with each other. You watch them drive each other crazy, but you also want them at your own dinner, quite badly. You'll be surprised how much.
It is hard to think of another play that has dealt with these realities of life as it is lived in ordinary America -- that faraway country Broadway so often chooses to ignore in favor of the bourgeoisie problems of one of the Upper Sides -- with such compassion.
Few writers of his generation have achieved anything quite like The Humans, a play about the horrors of ordinary life and the love we need to counter them."
--Chris Jones, The Chicago Tribune "The Humans is the sort of impeccably constructed play that should be a regular inhabitant on Broadway, not the occasional, surprising guest. You'll be glad you've been invited into the company of the Blakes, who themselves may fall short of glamorous but nevertheless help class up the whole darn neighborhood." Peter Marks, --The Washington Post ..".beautifully wrought... Having limned The Humans with gorgeous naturalism, Karam boldly forces us into a world beyond the familiar."
--Adam Feldman, Time Out NY "There is so much love, dread, and tenderness in The Humans that it is hard to believe just 90 minutes pass through Stephen Karam's deeply-felt family tragicomedy. Beautifully wrought... The Humans burrows into the lives of an Irish-American family with wit, tenderness and blistering brutality."
--Linda Winer, Newsday "Karam, whose flair for character and context was evident in the 2012 Pulitzer Prize finalist Sons of the Prophet, isn't interested in a polemic. The Humans rather considers the trials its highly imperfect subjects face in a highly imperfect world, and resolves, without ever approaching sentimentality, that love is nonetheless resilient."
--Elysa, Gardner, USA Today "It is an absolute triumph." --Mark Kennedy, Associated Press "A play of uncommon strengths; fresh, funny, piercing and perceptive. The Humans isn't just a family portrait - it's a mirror. Karam has an eye for detail on a near cellular level, an ear for authentic dialogue and a superlative ability to balance laughter and sorrow." --Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Daily News "The formula for a family-reunion play goes like this: Multiple generations of a clan get together for a holiday, air their dirty laundry at dinner, start fighting over dessert and at the end of the day are weary of battle. Stephen Karam's warm-hearted play The Humans follows the formula, but only to the point of exposing everybody's secrets. Instead of erupting in bitter hatred, Karam's characters respond to these revelations with deep love. That alone should keep this lovely play, an Off Broadway transfer, running in its inviting new Broadway house until kingdom come."
--Marilyn Stasio, Variety ..". a quietly stunning new play by Stephen Karam...
the beat-by-beat honesty, wit and intelligence of the writing kept me alert to every changing nuance. It has completely earned its place on the Broadway stage; and does so without the supposed benefit of star casting. What will sell it is the play itself." --Martin Shenton, The Stage "The Humans, which arrives on Broadway after an acclaimed off-Broadway run last fall, is a funny, mournful, richly detailed and deeply humane study of a beleaguered family celebrating Thanksgiving dinner in a tumbledown Chinatown apartment. Menu aside, it is no turkey." --Alexis Soloski, The Guardian "This is your life... and it is petrifying. We feel a tidal wave of emotion at The Humans. It is painfully uncanny - so much so that you won't be able to look away. Never has there been a more realistic encapsulation of the electricity generated when multiple generations come together under one roof."
--Zachary Stewert, Theatremania "There's no plate-smashing moment that you see in more histrionic family-gathering dramas (all the flatware in Brigid's apartment is plastic anyway). Each of the Blakes, even Momo, are masking major tragedies in their lives, but even those are revealed in ways that feel utterly unforced. Some moments are absolutely devastating -- but it's unfair to label the play as simply "depressing," because it's depressing in the way life is depressing and hilarious in the way life is hilarious...
Karam's transcendently mundane play is a reminder that family dinner dramas can still be surprising -- and they doesn't need ghosts or things that go bump in the night to achieve that. Real life is scary enough."
--Stephan Lee, Entertainment Weekly

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