This is a major play, no doubt about it, but what a lot of critics and commentators seem to have missed is what a deeply political play it is. It focuses on the Irish-American Blake family, who have come to youngest daughter Brigid’s (Sarah Steele) sketchy tenement Chinatown apartment (a “duplex” by virtue of extending into a basement) to celebrate Thanksgiving. All of them are dealing with serious problems of one sort or another, which they face with a mix of willful but warm good humor and stoic endurance. What struck me was the lack of any social safety net to help them with their problems.
Even the arguably most affluent family member, lawyer sister Aimee (Cassie Beck), has no defense against being fired for not having enough billable hours, even though the reason was a debilitating illness. And working class father Erik (Reed Birney) and mother Deirdre (Jayne Houdyshell) from Scranton? Forget it, they just have to do whatever it takes to get by. This family could be poster children for the Sanders campaign.
What the critics didn’t miss – how could you – is that The Humans is a deeply humane and compassionate play, and, in spite of tackling difficult subjects, a sparklingly funny one. If society and government don’t have the backs of the Blake family, they certainly have each others’ – even in the most trying of circumstances, as the play’s last burst of dialogue suggests.
The cast is uniformly extraordinary, with my personal favorite being the always sparkling Houdyshell. Director Joe Mantello delineates ever turn of this intricate play, never missing a detail or a nuance. Highly recommended.
For tickets, click here.
To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.
For more reviews and interviews by Jonathan Warman, see his blog Drama Queen.
A proposed ordinance made it out of committee on Monday, that would prohibit “reparative” therapy, that is, therapy designed to change sexual orientation or gender identity. The ordinance will now go before the full Cincinnati City Council for a vote. The ordinance, if passed, would impose a $200-a-day fine on violators.
The proposal was introduced by openly gay Councilman Chris Seelbach (pictured). Seelbach said: “This is not a partisan issue. is a matter of life and death for LGBT young people.”
Full story at the Cincinnati Enquirer.
President Obama’s June 26 tweet in support of the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage nationwide was the No. 1 politics and government tweet of the year.
The full text of the tweet was:”Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins”
Full story at Politico.
Last Tuesday, November 17, former Utah lawmaker Jackie Biskupski became the first openly gay mayor of Salt Lake City. Biskupski says “Today is not just about making history. It is about people. It is about affecting change…It’s 2015, and we’ve come a long way from, gosh, when I first got elected” in 1998, when she became Utah’s first openly gay legislator.
Full story at NBC News.
In Uncanny X-Men #600, the younger openly gay Iceman from an alternate universe, confronts his older self from the main Marvel comic timeline, forcing the character to reveal that he, too, has always been gay.
Marvel Comics Editor Daniel Ketchum said, “As a young person reading comics, starved to see my own life experience reflected on the page, I remember thinking it seemed only possible for that to happen as a one-off story relegated to a D-List character. I don’t know that I would have believed it if I was told that years later, this story would be presented in the flagship X-Men title, featuring an A-list character who has been a mainstay of the franchise since the beginning.”
Full story at Huffington Post.