(K. Brent Tomer),
THERE is something familiar about the Blakes, the American family at the centre of “The Humans”, a new play by Stephen Karam that is now on Broadway. Anyone who has navigated the emotional minefield of a family meal will recognise the affectionate way they bicker, their barbs softened with tenderness. But something else about this family will also resonate with a growing group of Americans: each member is struggling financially.
Over the course of the fraught feast, it becomes clear that the youngest daughter (Sarah Steele), an aspiring composer, is working nights as a bartender to pay off her student loans. Her sister (Cassie Beck) is about to lose her job as a lawyer after calling in sick too often. Their parents are in their 60s, but neither can afford to retire, particularly now that they are stuck paying the grandmother’s mounting medical bills. The mother (Jayne Houdyshell), a veteran office manager, complains that the 20-something “kids” she works for earn five times her salary “just ’cause they have a special degree.” But no one sounds more bitter or frustrated than…Continue reading