Firehouse’s “The Boy in the Bathroom” aims for deep connections with a small cast
Organized chaos was running rampant around the Firehouse Theatre as Adam B.Ferguson as he sat down to talk about his upcoming directorial debut; The Boy In The Bathroom. With the lead actor of the show having to be replaced at the last minute, and set construction going on around him you would think Ferguson might be frazzled – instead he was cool, calm, and collected as he spoke about the far-from-ordinary musical.
The Boy In The Bathroom is a story about a young man named David (Denver Crawford) who, due to his OCD, has taken up permanent residence in his bathroom as he finishes his college thesis. His mother, Pam (Catherine Shaffner) cares for him until one day she breaks her hip. Enter Julie (Rebecca Turner) who comes in to help care for David and who might give him a reason to face the outside world.
Creating a world with a small cast and a stationary setting is certainly challenging. Especially when the play is lesser known than big, campy musicals. Luckily for Ferguson, the playwright, Michael Lluberes, was available to answer questions about his original work.
“[Lluberes] sat in on rehearsals and we got to work through stuff and get his opinions and insights. It’s been amazing to have that connection with the playwright which is where this whole world started.”
A three person show about mental illness is far from the typical subject matter for musicals, especially in a world where Broadway has been Disneyfied. Ferguson spoke of how it was a beautiful show with more depth than meets than meets the eye. “I always have a way of being drawn to very challenging pieces that appear more simplistic but when you get more into it, it’s like oh!”
There is a huge amount of pressure on each person in a three-person cast to carry the show. With no ensemble, it can surely be a daunting task. However the benefits far outweigh the pitfalls; the amount of one-on-one character work each actor is able to perform with Ferguson is tremendously beneficial.
This a luxury that does not always occur when producing shows with larger casts.
As for the last minute casting change, Ferguson says that his assistant stage manager has stepped up and filled in seamlessly.
“It’s been great. He jumped into it, he is a wonderful actor to work with he’s very dedicated,” said Ferguson. ”You can tell he’s been doing a lot of work outside and within the last two or three days he’s almost off book and he has his music down so its been great, we have been very lucky.”
With the Firehouse under new management, Ferguson is incredibly grateful for this opportunity and for all the support he’s received during this process. The Firehouse has gone with longer rehearsal time and more performances this season; a change Ferguson said helps the actors and creative staff have more time to explore the material, ultimately making a more enjoyable experience for Richmond audiences.
Despite the trials and tribulations, Ferguson is confident that The Boy In The Bathroom is fully ready and will leave audiences very satisfied. “When you finally see a production come to the level where its come to fruition and it’s exactly what you imagined, its amazing.”
Preview performances are July 16th, 17th, 22nd, and 23rd. The show opens officially on July 24th and runs through September 4th. Visit Firehousetheatre.org for ticketing information.
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