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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Humble Boy On Stage At The Ice House Theater

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Don't miss your special KRL coupon at the end of this article!

What do a biologist, a physicist, an aging model, a strong-willed mother, an alcoholic lover, a “nervous Nellie”, and a gardener have in common? Humble Boy! Charlotte Jones weaves these diverse characters into an exciting tale about typical and dysfunctional relationships told with humor and pathos. Humble Boy opens this weekend at the Ice House Theater in Visalia, presented by the Visalia Community Players.

At the outset, James Humble, Flora’s biologist husband has just died. His loss sets the stage for relationships to be revealed. For director Donny Graham, the extreme differences between the characters hold the play together, creating problems and the need to understand and appreciate uniqueness. “The incidents between the characters cause you to think about your own relationships.”


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Flora (Christina Thorin), the aging model, is also self-centered and may not be initially likable, but Thorin believes that Flora grows during the play. Starting as a thoughtless woman interested only in blaming others for her humdrum life, Flora begins to understand that she has responsibility for what happens in her life. In the end, Thorin thinks there is hope for Flora.


Christina Thorin as Flora and Keith Lindersmith as George.
Image source: Visalia Community Players

Felix (Tim Rich), Flora’s physicist son, described by Rich as intellectually brilliant and socially inept, is attempting to come to grips with failed relationships. Although Felix claims not to have had a good relationship with his father, Rich sees their relationship as closer than it initially appears. Felix’ relationship with Flora is troubled to say the least, but he attempts to work that through so in the end he has a sense of self not tied to his mother.

George (Keith Lindersmith) is Flora’s lover and has few saving graces. “He is full of himself, but has lots of insecurities.” Lindersmith views George as too crass for his liking, making him a difficult character to portray, but he believes that George really cares for Rosie, his daughter. That is the thought Lindersmith keeps in mind to help him see beyond George’s failings to his humanity.

Rosie (Elaine Wood), in addition to being George’s daughter, has been Felix’ lover, adding to the complexity. Rosie cares about her father and wants him to be happy, as deluded as his desires may be. Wood thinks Rosie loves Felix, despite her denials, but wants a total relationship with Felix or nothing. “She is very self-reliant and does not want to settle for less.”

Mercy (Robin Hoffman) might be considered the comic relief. Hoffman says Mercy is clueless and frequently misses the point of the conversation, lost in her own fixation. Mercy thinks of Felix as her son and wants to keep peace in the family. She has reason to be a “nervous Nellie” when she has a cooking snafu! Jim (Donny Graham), the gardener, is rather a philosopher, being outside and yet connected to the story. Graham is finding it challenging to direct and act in the production. “It is hard to balance the jobs of actor and director and do both well.”

All the actors and the director identify with the reality and humanity of the play. Rich noted, “This is a story about every family on the planet with its dysfunctional members, actual and adopted.” For Thorin, the play has “the joys, the disappointments, all the things that happen to real people.” Graham commented, it is like “watching a family with problems, but some are resolved through humor with meaning. I hope people go home thinking about the play, their own relationships, and survive.”

Humble Boy includes adult language and subject matter. It is not suitable for children. The show opens at the Ice House Theater at Race and Santa Fe in Visalia at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 4, 2012 and runs for three weekends with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. on 5/4, 5/5, 5/11, 5/12, 5/18, and 5/19 and matinees at 2:00 p.m. on 5/6, 5/13, and 5/20.


For more information about the Visalia Players, check out their website or for details about local arts groups in Tulare County; check out the Visalia Arts Consortium.

Print this page and take this coupon to the show for discount:

Visalia Community Players Two-For-One Coupon
for Humble Boy By Charlotte Jones
Admit 2 Adults for $12.00 Coupon good for any performance of the play.
One Coupon Per Family, Reservations Suggested; 559-734-3900

Nancy Holley has been involved in the Visalia Community Players off and on since the 1970s, both as a director and actor. In 2010, she retired from 25 years as a software consultant and has since expanded her role at the Players. She is now President of the Board and responsible for Box Office/Hosting volunteers.

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