John Caird, best known for lavish productions of the musicals Jane Eyre and Les Misérables, is in discussions to direct the U.S. premiere of Charlotte Jones' Humble Boy at Off-Broadway's Manhattan Theatre Club in April 2003.
The play, inspired by Hamlet, was the winner of the 2001 Critics Circle Best Play Award, playing the Royal National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre in fall 2001.
In it, 35-year-old Felix Humble, a Cambridge astro-physicist, returns home to his bee-keeping father's funeral in middle England, only to discover his difficult and domineering mother in the arms of another man. As he struggles to find his balance in the midst of familial chaos, "what emerges is a touching, funny and entertaining dysfunctional family portrait," according to MTC.
Performances begin April 22, 2003, on Stage I. Opening night is May 15.
Humble Boy's original Caird staging for the RNT featured Simon Russell Beale as Humble and Diana Rigg as his mother. It was Charlotte Jones' first play at the National. Her previous work includes In Flame, seen in London. Designers in London were Tim Hatley (set), Paul Pryant (lighting), Christopher Shutt (sound), with music by Joe Cutler.
The cast also included Cathryn Bradshaw, William Gaunt, Denis Quilley and Marcia Warren. No casting for the U.S. staging has been announced.
Currently at MTC, the New York City not-for-profit which offers New York premiere and world premieres, are Dael Orlandersmith's Yellowman (which is earning raves following its Oct. 22 opening) on Stage I and Charlayne Woodard's solo show, In Real Life, on Stage II.
For more information, visit ManhattanTheatreClub.org.
— By Kenneth Jones