Sunday afternoon I dropped off a birthday present for sanguinity. You know how much fun it is to figure out a really GREAT present for someone? It is difficult when you know what it is weeks before their birthday, and during that time the recipient is talking about how much she wants exactly what you've picked out, and you can't say "Oh, maybe you'll get one for your birthday!" because that will spoil the surprise. Anyway, she got the first ever Dr. Eldritch mug. There's only one in existence, so if you see a bunch show up on eBay, you'll know they're just cheap knock-offs.
Then I ushered for "Humble Boy" at ART. I arrived early so I could have my pick of the volunteer roles. I like to tear tickets. I'm good at it. Well, lots of people are good at it, but I could easily have gone pro. I suspect that if I had followed a different career path, I could have been one of the world-famous ticket-tearers, maybe not Fiona Crenshaw* famous, but in the top ten. For example, ART has changed their ticket printing from top-to-bottom to end-to-end. This means when someone hands me two or more tickets attached together, I have to separate them down to individual tickets, line them up so the stubs are at the proper end and tear them, all the while giving the spiel about programs and where the ushers are to assist in locating seating, wrapping up as I hand back their tickets and say "Enjoy the show!" It's really more art than science.
The play itself was entertaining enough. It's British, so there's a lot of talking and not a lot happens in 2½ hours. How can I sum it up without giving too much away? Let's say that the full title could be "Humble Boy, or An Exploration of Immortality by People Not In Touch With Their Feelings." The cast acquited themselves well, but ART's power-hitters Tobias Anderson, JoAnn Johnson and Vana O'Brien could play "20 Questions" for 155 minutes and it would be at least be interesting. Todd Van Voris does a nice job with the lead role; he has a comfortable stage presence, and can swing from wickedly playful to deeply emotional without it feeling forced. I will still gripe about playwrights who can't contain their work within two hours. There wasn't much that I felt was so great that I was glad to have sat for so long (Vana's rambling saying of grace was particularly good, though). The play contains moderate amounts of humor, some a bit macabre, some sexual references, no actual sex or nudity on stage, a little hitting, no gore, a fair bit of profanity, some smoking, no gunfire or car chases. Points for having a real water feature on stage (with fish!), but it's a bad sign when watching the fish swim about is more interesting than what the actors are doing....
*The world's most famous ticket-tearer, of course.