Humble Boy
(with Six Characters)

by Charlotte Jones (Six Characters - by Sandra Horn)

directed by Ros Liddiard (Six Characters - directed by Fran Morley)

Performed at the

Maskers' Studio Theatre


Friday 21st to Saturday 29th October 2011

A writing competition was held to commission a 10-minute piece to link Humble Boy with Hamlet. The winner was Sandra Horn with her piece "Six Characters".
This short piece was then directed by Fran Morley and performed as a precursor to Humble Boy each evening, with the same actors.

This production was part of the RSC Open Stages initiative and an extract was performed at the Open Stages event at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton on Sunday 16th June 2012


Charlotte Jones was an actress before she became a writer. Frustrated by the actor's lot, which is to wait by the phone for the offer of a starring role, she wrote one for herself! This first play was Airswinuning, in which she played a woman incarcerated in an asylum, awaiting news of her release. That, says Charlotte, was a metaphor for Jones-the-actress waiting for her agent to call!
Five years, and several successful plays later, she wrote Humble Boy, an elegant tragiccomedy about a mother-son relationship and a study in grief. Humble Boy was written with Simon Russell-Beale in mind for the role of Felix, a troubled astrophysicist whose dysfunctional behaviour is at the heart of the play. Luckily, Charlotte's actor husband was appearing with Russell-Beale in Hamlet at The Royal National Theatre. The script was handed over...dutifully read...loved by all...and was premiered in The Cottesloe in 2001, with Russell-Beale in the lead role! Humble Boy went on to win two Olivier Awards and the 2001 Critics' Circle Theatre Award. The play has many themes, one of which is its parallels with Hamlet.
The company has enjoyed rehearsing this engaging play, with its beautifully realised characters and we are proud of our association with the Royal Shakespeare Company's innovative Open Stages event. Our involvement with the project encouraged us to integrate other artistic elements in the production. It has been a pleasure to work with Brambridge Park Garden Centre on the Humble's garden, with Ed on the original music, performed live: with Sandra on her clever play, and with speech therapist, Kathy, on Felix's stammer. This production has been both a challenging and really exciting experience.

Sandra Horn has worked a minor miracle in her ten minute curtain raiser. Six Characters (in search of two authors in this case) is a clever and witty linking of Hamlet and Humble Boy which has been really enjoyable to bring to life with the company. There are well known Hamlet lines and a playful approach to the characters.

A group of actors have been frozen in time, some of them frustrated with the characters Shakespeare wrote. They are given a kind of Dr Who regeneration into modern actors, who find welcome opportunities in Charlotte Jones' writing to play people they identify with. You don't need to be familiar with Hamlet to enjoy Humble Boy but making the links is great fun. Six Characters offers a helping hand. Spot the actor who was quite happy with Hamlet as written (and therefore the one most like Hamlet himself), the one who most radically departs from Hamlet as we know it, the two who swap places (one of them reluctantly), the one who opts for the quiet life, and the one who does their best to help but maybe with a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern ulterior motive.

I've been writing something or another ever since I can remember, and regularly roped the neighbourhood kids in to take part in my 'shows' when we were all at primary school. To have my play chosen by The Maskers is such heady stuff I still can't quite take it in!

Six Characters Cast Humble Boy
Hamlet Matt Avery Felix
Margie Sarah-Jayne Wareham Mercy
Gertrude Jan Spiers Flora
Old King Ken Hann George
Claudius Richard Martin Jim
Ophelia Jo Welch Rosie
Creative Team
Director - Humble Boy Ros Liddiard
Director - Six Characters Fran Morley
Producer and Designer Peter Liddiard
Stage Manager Angie Barks
Lighting Designer Clive Weeks
Sound Designer Jamie McCarthy
Composer/td> Ed Denham
Fight Director Paul Benzing
Wardrobe Serena Brown with Susan Wilson
Props & Set Dressing Ella Lockett with Fran Morley
Set Construction Roger Lockett with Graham Buchanan, Philip Evans, Peter Liddiard, Jez Minns & Alan Rowe
Piano: Rachael Courage
Violins: Ning-Ning Li, Jorge May, Becky Waldron
Voice Coach Kathy East
Rehearsal Prompt Suze Avery & Gail Blues
Lighting Operators Ruben Sanchez-Garcia & Kathryn Salmon
Sound Operators Martin Welch & Jamie McCarthy
Marketing/Publicity Angela Stansbridge & Team
Front of House Peter Hill & Team
Photography Clive Weeks
Box Office Christine Baker
FoH Display Zannah Lawther
Bar Jan Spiers (Manager) & Team
Programme design Peter Liddiard & Sarah Russell
Programme printing Geoff Wharam

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Off Emsworth Road
SO15 3LX

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Established 1968

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