every unhappy family is alike in its own way.”
“Anna Karenina”, Leo Tolstoy
In a world where Bob Dylan is a Nobel prize winner and a judge of beauty pageants is a presidential hopeful, “The Humans” is a Broadway show and an also-ran for the Pulitzer Prize.
Again, much like “A Man Called Ove,” (see my previous film review), don’t get me wrong: this is an entertaining work. My complaint is that the bar for artistic accolades is set lower and lower every year.
“The Humans” posits that the nuclear family is just that, and if we scratch below the surface, the wounds are there–and they are festering. Never mind that in American theater this was just done
beautifully in this season’s revival of “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” and will be addressed soon enough for the umpteenth version of “A Glass Menagerie” set to open on Broadway soon,
and done with dish-throwing disquiet in the late Albee’s great play,
“Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf.” That the family in “The Humans” is
pulsing with disease, various disorders, mental breakdowns, financial ruin and love lost hardly makes it original on the stage (or in the world). What works in “The Humans” is the odd humor, which sometimes is present in similarly-themed Sam Sheppard plays, although there the jokes are not always intended