Last evening, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing the play “The Adventures of Bath Towel Boy” in the make-shift theater in the family room of our home in Boston. Written, directed, and performed by my five-year-old son, Ben Josselyn, this magical performance is a must-see for anyone who loves rambling dialogue and intersecting, but seemingly unrelated, plot lines.
Josselyn plays Bath Towel Boy, who is jettisoned back into the Jurassic Era for reasons never explained. After countless epic battles with a foam sword, he heroically saves the world from small plastic dinosaurs with his bath towel tied around his shoulders like a cape. In an existential moment of pure narcissism, Josselyn wonders where else in history Bath Towel Boy should go to save humanity.
Following a short bathroom break, Ben reappears on stage with a box of cheese crackers and his towel-cape askew. He appears to have gone mad and spends the remainder of the play talking gibberish, rolling around on the floor and knocking things over before the play mercifully ends 33 minutes after it began.
The set, designed largely by Bed, Bath and Beyond, evokes a post-industrial era where sheets blanket what remains of the world order to portray what existed when dinosaurs roamed the earth. The cheery bold colors and vibrant patterns create a stark contrast to the epic battles that follow.
Props were minimal in order to focus attention on the heroic challenges and dilemmas facing the superhero. Josselyn’s vast array of sound effects during battle was impressive, although it’s unfortunate that this particular skill will never translate into a paying job.
Ben Josselyn, as the Bath Towel Boy, is mesmerizing because there is nothing else to look at on stage for the entire play. He leaps and lunges and swings his sword with the fierce and commanding agility of a bull in a china shop, slaying one invisible foe after another.
At times loud and at times eerily silent, except for the sound of crackers being chewed, Josselyn embodies the Bath Towel Boy superhero in his tighty-whiteys and bath towel. Method acting at its best.
The audience remained riveted throughout the performance and leapt to their feet the minute the play ended. Ben Josselyn definitely took some creative risks with the unexplained decent into madness, followed by the compulsion to eat crackers, but he pulled off a very entertaining half hour that felt more like a lifetime because the theater banned the use of cell phones anywhere on the premises (even during the unscheduled bathroom break).
In sum, a tour de force for writer, director, and lead character, Ben Josselyn! This is definitely one theater experience you won’t want to miss, if you’re his parents.