Intricate, layered and funny.
That is how Angela Henry would describe Humble Boy, the new play debuting at the Langham Theatre next week.
The play, which originally debuted at the Royal National Theatre in London in 2001 and written by Charlotte Jones, is the story of Felix Humble, an astrophysicist who returns home upon his father’s death to find his mother has jumped into bed with a neighbour.
His solace is found in his father’s Cotswold garden and apiary where a spinster, past lover and bees allow for musings about life and the universe.
“The thing that makes it such a fun script is that it has so many layers,” said Henry, the play’s director. “On one level it’s a sheer lovely comedy about a dysfunctional family trying to find its way back to itself, but on a deeper level it asks many questions about what is the glue that keeps people together and that runs the universe.”
It is a dark comedy that was inspired by William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
“When Hamlet asks ‘to be or not to be’, his question of how to function in the world, it is a question that Felix asks all throughout the play and he’s challenged by the people around him to try and be instead of not be,” said Henry.
The six-person play takes place over a period of three months and tries to answer big life questions, something Felix himself struggles with.
“He has this belief that he clings to that if he understands string theory, which is this unified theory of everything, that he will understand everything,” said Kyle Kushnir, who plays Felix.
“But at the end, I think he realizes that’s not true. I hope that people see that, that there are mysteries to human relationships that aren’t explainable by science.”
It is a play that both Henry and Kushnir hope will allow audiences to reflect on their own relationships.
Humble Boy will be on at Langham Theatre from June 11-27. For tickets, call 250-384-2142 or langhamtheatre.ca.