By the time The Humans was honored with the 2016 Tony Award for Best Play, Stephen Karem’s electrifying drama was already being heralded as a new American classic. Firmly rooted in the anxieties of the current age, Karem has sought to embody cultural malaise with this study of one splintered family coming together for Thanksgiving. Though the setup might sound familiar, The Humans proves anything but predictable as the weary members of the Blake family attempt to span the vast divisions between one another. The effort is further encumbered by the cramped setting, a tiny apartment in New York’s Chinatown where Brigid and her boyfriend, Richard, are hosting her family, who are visiting from Scranton, Pennsylvania. While Brigid’s father and mother bring their own parental judgements, the presence of the elderly family matriarch is shadowed by dementia. Talk of ill health and worsening finances accumulate until normalcy cannot hold the dual weight of desperation and fear pulling this family apart. Thankfully, Karem’s insightful writing is robust enough to moderate the escalating tension with compassionate humor, a coping mechanism sure to resonate with anyone who has ever longed to escape an awkward family gathering.