Love caged, sans whip and bounds
More often than not, our views of the world are strongly affected by the situation we are in – and because art is designed to be perception-based, the story of the Boy in the Bathroom is every bit as titillating to some as Fifty Shades of Grey is for most.
The premise of the tale lies on a boy (David Williams, played by Topper Fabregas) with OCD, a sense of contentment within him – perhaps fabricated or maybe real in the slightest – as he goes through life fitting the outside world in a half-inch space. His mother (Pam Williams, played by Shiela Francisco) feeds in and enables his condition with pancakes, “teepee,” torn up pages of books, inquiries about his thesis and occasional hints at possibly helping him out with shoveling the snow. Theirs was barely an ideal relationship, but each has learned to cope with and trudge on living a semblance of normalcy.
Their equilibrium was shaken with an accident that rendered Mrs. Williams unable to do most of everyday life’s functions. Enter Julie, (Caisa Borromeo) a begrudging Michigan native who wishes for nothing more but explore the world outside of the city she was born and raised in. She was initially hired to help Mrs. Williams get by, but ends up doing more (or worse, depending on whose perspective) than what was necessary.
Their friendship formed, first with soft knocks and feeble jokes that later on developed into a thunderous roar as everyone’s life was turned upside down. Julie’s personality and romanticism of a life outside her hometown filled in the cracks in the bathroom, and eventually found its way to David’s heart, much to the resistance of Pam, who at the very core is a doting mother afraid of being abandoned again.
The play throws in questions for the audience who, at certain points in their lives, have seen the appeal of being solitary, isolated from the outside world and being left to one’s own imagination. (David – my head exploded and became stars in the universe) Fabregas was able to bring me into his world with his child-like wonderment; he made David likeable and endearing, sometimes pitiful in his occasional freak-outs. Borromeo’s innocence oozes through amidst a worldly portrayal of Julie. Francisco was a force to be reckoned with – the mother she created was both loving and formidable. Her Mrs. Williams is someone I won’t want to mess with.
The story itself was made relatable with a romanticized view of OCD, although unrealistic. The dialogue and the script made up for a poignant telling of the human condition: that we self-preserve, we love and we risk self-preservation for it.
Beyond the beauty of the story and the chemistry of the actors was a highly personal experience for me, as a viewer who, much like the main protagonist, would rather keep living in a safe, made-up world where everything can be controlled. As always, there’s one who will break that bubble, who will shake our foundation. The only question is: will we let that person do just that? Or do we just rebuild the bubble and reinforce the foundation?