The play, which was recently adapted into a major motion film starring Amy Schumer and directed by Karam himself, is centered around the Blake family meeting up for Thanksgiving, in an apartment in Chinatown, Manhattan.
“It’s a really beautiful play about how we all need to find ways to cope with fear in dark times. It’s a very urban script about how people in three generations deal with fear and anxiety, yet are still able to keep their family together,” director John Sweeney explained.
“It has a sharp, satirical edge to it, and the ending is quite spectacular. There’s things that families don’t talk about, and when they do, and it finally all reaches it’s boiling point, it really creates a much bigger impact outside of just that one family.”
This particular production of The Humans will be an ‘animated’ and rehearsed reading of the play, featuring Colin Bruce Anthes, Genevieve Jones, Kirk Mitchell, Kristin Ojaperv, Karen Thacker and Sybil Wilson. Director Sweeney, was the Head of Theatre at Ridley College in St. Catharines for 12 years, and this will be his third production post-retirement.
When deciding to do a rehearsed reading rather than a full production, Sweeney cited their need and want for local artists ie. ‘good people’, to be mixed with several from the congregation.
“We just knew that good people would be busy, and we couldn’t pay them by the hour to rehearse this play. Luckily, the thing about good people is that they don’t need as much time. We wanted to have enough time that the reading would be well done,” said Sweeney.
“We wanted to pay them, but couldn’t afford to pay for hours upon hours of rehearsal. But, it is more of a play than just a reading, it’s just that we’re only rehearsing it six or seven times.”
One of the reasons Sweeney chose The Humans, is for it’s all encompassing relations to people from all generations. Within the play, there’s broke students living downtown. There’s the struggle between faith vs. science. The play also deals with careers, pensions, aging and health care.
“These issues are big everywhere. The church is really trying to communicate with people here, trying to bring everyone together with a show that reflects downtown issues and that has some of the ideas and ethics of this church,” said Sweeney.
“It’s a hard thing to get people to come and see a show that is too dark. No one’s laughing these days, because people are afraid to say the wrong thing. While The Humans has its dark moments, it’s funny and entertaining as well. People need comedy these days. At the end of the day, we just want to give people the chance to laugh and reflect.”
The rehearsed reading of The Humans will take place at the Silver Spire United Church, located at 366 St. Paul St. in St. Catharines, on March 28-29. Tickets can be reserved for Sat. March 28th at 7:30 either by phoning 905 6828328, Monday to Friday from 9-1pm, or by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.The 2pm Sunday, March 29th matinee is a general seating Pay What You Can performance.