Backstage Review: ‘The Humans’ at Reno Little Theater

~Review by Norm Robins~

~Photos by Zen Media~

“The Humans” was written by Stephen Karam

Stephen Karam has written a play for us with a cast of characters all too human. The title tells it all. The Blake family is a working class family with ordinary problems, lots of them. But this is no ordinary play. It takes place in a basement apartment in a rundown part of Chinatown in New York that has recently survived a flooding. The Blake family gets together for Thanksgiving dinner, and everybody’s secret and not-so-secret crisis gets an airing. But the very human problems of each one are treated tenderly and mercifully by family members and playwright alike.

This play is an ensemble piece, a fast-paced tragedy and comedy that will leave you touched by the humanity of it all and laughing uproariously at its comedy. But it is different from ordinary plays. Ordinarily, a play lays some groundwork by showing us the characters and the situation. Then the playwright builds some tension and some conflict. In the denouement at the end the conflicts and tensions are resolved, and all the loose ends are tied up. The play has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Karam doesn’t do that. He breaks the mold. Characters are introduced. Situations are introduced. So are conflicts. We see how the individuals and the family as a whole deal with them. This is an Irish Catholic family. There’s religion but no psychotherapy. There are no friends to console them. They console each other. There is humor to laugh at the impossibilities and to heal wounds.

Reno Little Theater has created a set that lives up to this big story of a family Thanksgiving filled with drama and just a splash of laughs.
I have to give a massive shout out to the cast and director. Bravo Chad, Bob, Janet, Rosie, Brittany, Kathy, and Ryan!
Go see “The Humans” you will be glad you did.

Dana Nöllsch

But there is no denouement. They all go out the same door through which they came in. Karam has simply shown us situations with no solution. Perhaps that is the denouement, that there is no denouement. We simply have to cope and go on.

This 2016 Tony Award winner is a must see. It won a Tony for good reason. And cast, director, and crew have done a beautiful job bringing it to us.


Erik Blake………………….Bob Gabrielli

Deirdre Blake………………Janet Lazarus

Aimee Blake……………….Rosie Calkin

Brigid Blake………………..Brittany Carpenter

Fiona “Momo” Blake………Kathy Welch

Richard Saad………………Ryan Kelly

Directed by Chad Sweet.

The Humans will play at the Reno Little Theater, 147 E. Pueblo St., Reno November 15th through December 1st. For tickets and information go to or call 775-813-8900.


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