It’s that time again. Time to put on another show! Outside of my family, I have two major passions. Writing and theatre. For me, the two work hand in hand. When I’m writing, I see actors in my mind, performing the lines I’m writing. I can see their faces crumple in pain when I deliver a crushing blow or see their faces light up when I’ve made their wish come true. Writing, for me, is acting, without that pesky line learning bit. (I get editing instead. Not sure which is worse.)
The last show of the year for me is a great little one-act play called The Humans. It’s by a brilliant playwright Stephen Karam. The Humans was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Play. It’s that good. I’ve never read a play quite like it, to be honest. It reads like real life. It’s effortless how it unfolds, and yet has so many layers to it that it would take multiple viewings to truly get it all. I play a character named Brigid, a recent college graduate trying to break into the musical composing scene in the Big Apple. She’s just moved into a new place with her older boyfriend, and they host Thanksgiving for her parents, sister, and grandmother. Ah…family gatherings. Always blessing…and a curse. Ha.
It’s six characters in a non-stop ride. There are no scene changes, no blackouts, no moments for the actors to get out of the moment, which is both exciting and exhausting. The show runs the range of emotions, laughter, tears, and all the good feels.
What I find interesting, is that the playwright started out writing a thriller, then, the longer he wrote, he realized what he was writing was a family piece about how people deal with fear. In fact, there is an opening quote in the introduction to the play from Napoleon Hill from his book Think and Grow Rich that says:
“There are six basic fears, with some combination of which every human suffers at one time or another…
The fear of poverty
The fear of criticism
The fear of Ill health
The fear of loss of love of someone
The fear of old age
The fear of death.”
Six fears. Six actors. Each character represents a fear. How do we, as humans, deal with them? The play touches on a lot of the coping mechanisms we use to put off coming head to head with that anxiety: emotional eating, sarcasm, deflection, humor… Who would have thought that a family play that takes place during a Thanksgiving meal could reveal so much about being human? Stephen Karam. That’s who.
If you’d like to see a few promotional videos our producer put together, you can find them here.
And if you are local and wanna come see this show, performed by a stellar cast, you can visit www.midcoastactorsstudio.org for more info.