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Artists Rep Presents THE HUMANS this Month


Artists Rep Presents THE HUMANS this Month

Artists Rep presents the 2016 Tony Award winner for Best New Play The Humans, by Stephen Karam, directed by Dámaso Rodríguez from November 19 through December 17 on the theatre's intimate Morrison Stage. Artists Rep is one of the first regional theatres in the nation to produce The Humans featuring a local cast and design team.

It's the small dinner party that made big waves on Broadway about a fractured family at its not-so-finest. The Humans layers the fabric of a family's past as they gather at the New York Chinatown apartment of the youngest daughter and her boyfriend for a holiday meal. As the Blake family pokes at old wounds and forcibly stumbles through treasured traditions, tensions bubble over, secrets fight their way to the surface, and the world creaks curiously around them.

"I had the opportunity to experience The Humans in its Broadway run and marveled at how Karam had made a living document, a time capsule, of our early 21st Century American experience in the same way that Clifford Odets did of the 1930s and Arthur Miller of the 1940s and 1950s," said play director and Artists Rep Artistic Director Dámaso Rodríguez. "I immediately wanted to share the experience with our Portland audiences in Artists Rep's intimate venue. That we're opening our production on Thanksgiving weekend just as families begin to gather for seasonal celebrations is perfect timing."

Rodríguez continues: "Running 90 minutes, real-time, The Humans is a hyper-realistic imitation of life. With humor and compassion, Karam masterfully evokes the ubiquitous anxieties of the U.S. middle class - from health stresses to class tensions to an uncertain financial future - within the three generations of the Blake family. I know I see myself, my siblings, cousins, parents and grandparents represented in this family on stage - and I believe audiences will, too."

The Humans cast includes Resident Artists Val Landrum, John San Nicolas and Vana O'Brien, Portland actors Luisa Sermol and Quinlan Fitzgerald, and Seattle-area actor Robert Pescovitz. Along with director Dámaso Rodríguez, the production's Portland creative team includes Megan Wilkerson (Scenic Design), Gregory Pulver (Costume Design), Kristeen Crosser (Light Design), Phil Johnson (Sound Design), Mary McDonald-Lewis (Voice & Text Director) along with Luan Schooler serving as Dramaturg and Roy Arauz as Assistant Director.

The Humans is the second play by Stephen Karam produced by Artists Rep. In 2008, Karam's Speech and Debate enjoyed sold-out houses and an extended run.

Stephen Karam is the author of Sons Of The Prophet, which recently ended its extended Off-Broadway run at the Laura Pels Theater in New York City (Roundabout Theatre Company) following its debut at the Huntington Theatre Company. Other plays include Speech & Debate (the inaugural production of Roundabout Underground); Columbinus (New York Theatre Workshop); Girl On Girl (Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep); and Emma (a modern, musical version of Jane Austen's novel), performed by students at the Professional Performing Arts High School in NYC in association with Waterwell (published by Playscripts, Inc.). His other plays are published by Dramatists Play Service, American Theatre Magazine, Northwestern University Press and Dramatic Publishing Co.; his freelance writing has appeared in NY Magazine, The Advocate and He is the author of the libretto for Dark Sisters, an original chamber opera with composer Nico Muhly (co-produced by Gotham Chamber Opera, MTG and Opera Company of Philadelphia). A MacDowell Colony Fellow, Stephen grew up in Scranton, PA and is a graduate of Brown University.


DÁMASO RODRÍGUEZ is in his fifth year as Artistic Director of Artists Repertory Theatre. In 2001 he co-founded the Los Angeles-based Furious Theatre Company, where he served as Co-Artistic Director until 2012. From 2007-2010 he served as Associate Artistic Director of The Pasadena Playhouse. His directing credits include work at Artists Rep, Playwrights' Center, The Pasadena Playhouse, Intiman Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Laguna Playhouse, A Noise Within, The Theatre@Boston Court, Naked Angels and Furious Theatre. Rodriguez is a recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, the Back Stage Garland Award, the NAACP Theatre Award and the Pasadena Arts Council's Gold Crown Award. His productions have been nominated for multiple LA Weekly Theatre Awards and LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards. In 2012, Rodriguez was honored by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation as a Finalist for the Zelda Fichandler Award. He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).

Directing credits at Artists Rep include the World Premiere musical Cuba Libre by Carlos Lacámara featuring the music of three-time Grammy-nominated band Tiempo Libre; the Portland premieres of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' An Octoroon (co-director), Nick Jones' Trevor, David Ives' adaptation of Pierre Corneille's The Liar, Nina Raine's Tribes and Exiles by Carlos Lacámara; the U.S. premiere of Dawn King's Foxfinder; the West Coast premieres of Charise Castro Smith's Feathers and Teeth, Jeffrey Hatcher's Ten Chimneys and Dan LeFranc's The Big Meal; and revivals of The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder, The Miracle Worker by William Gibson and The Playboy of the Western World by J.M. Synge. Credits at other theatres include productions by contemporary and classic playwrights including Craig Wright, Neil LaBute, Matt Pelfrey, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Richard Bean, Owen McCafferty, Alex Jones, William Shakespeare, Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams, Noel Coward, Bernard Shaw, Clifford Odets and Lillian Hellman. Upcoming directing projects for Rodríguez are Magellanica by E.M. Lewis at Artists Rep; and Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

By Stephen Karam
Directed by Dámaso Rodríguez


Luisa Sermol* as Dierdre Blake | Cuba Libre, Xmas Unplugged, Lost Boy, Three Sisters (Artists Rep)
Val Landrum*^ as Aimee Blake | The Miracle Worker, American Hero, A Civil War Christmas (Artists Rep)

John San Nicolas*^ as Richard Saad |An Octoroon, The Talented Ones, Trevor (Artists Rep)

Vana O'Brien*^ as Fiona "Momo" Blake | Marjorie Prime, Blithe Spirit, Superior Donuts (Artists Rep)

Robert Pescovitz* as Erik Blake | Bad Samaritan, The Librarians, Grimm, Without a Trace (Film&TV)

Quinlan Fitzgerald+ as Brigid Blake |The Angry Brigade (Third Rail), Peter and the Starcatcher (Portland Playhouse), Trails (Broadway Rose)


Dámaso Rodríguez~ |Director

Megan Wilkerson#^ |Scenic Designer
Gregory Pulver^ | Costume Designer

Kristeen Crosser# | Lighting Designer

Phil Johnson | Composer/Sound Designer

Luan Schooler |Dramaturg
Mary McDonald-Lewis^ | Voice & Text Director

Carol Ann Wohlmut*^ | Resident Stage Manager
Roy Arauz | Assistant Director

Katrina Lind | Props Master

Colin Moore | Scenic Design Intern


Artistic Producer | Shawn Lee

Associate Producer & Production Manager | Kristeen Willis Crosser

Board Op | Alan Cline

Production Assistant| Karen Hill+
Wardrobe | Clare Hungate-Hawk

Technical Director | Nathan Crone

Master Carpenter | Eddie Rivera

Master Electrician | Ronan Kilkelly

Scenic Charge | Sarah Kindler

* Member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers

# The scenic, costume, lighting, projection & sound designers are represented by United Scenic Artists
~ Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
^ Artists Rep Resident Artist

+ Equity Membership Candidate

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Image credit: Jeff Hayes

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