Friday, July 6, 2007

'Gone Missing' Docu-musical finds what is missing

By Judd Hollander
Special to The Epoch Times

NEW YORK—Everybody loses things, from everyday items to ones with emotional value, and those that make up who you are—even your sight, mind, and life. This is the subject tackled by the theater group, The Civilians, in very enjoyable Gone Missing.

Billed as a "documentary musical" (musical and lyrics by Michael Friedman), the work is drawn from actual interviews with various New Yorkers about things lost and sometimes found. This includes a hilarious story about a lost Gucci shoe and the lengths its owner will go to find it; a cop relating the gruesome things one can find in his line of work; and a group of women describing losing various pieces of jewelry—all of which have strong sentimental attachments.

These sequences are linked together by musical interludes where people sing about losing everything from their virginity to their innocence to their cool. There's also a spoof of radio talk shows with a limelight-hugging doctor talking about the nostalgia loss brings (not to mention the continent of Atlantis).

The action moves swiftly from one section to the next, so if one sketch doesn't appeal to you, more often than not, the next one will. Ultimately, what makes "Gone Missing" so appealing is that everyone in the audience, it's safe to say, has lost something important at one point, so it's very easy to emphasize with many of the situations presented.

A nice touch are the instances of situations when people have actually found things they've lost, such as a father looking for his child's favorite toy, a security guard who lost his palm pilot during 9/11, and the return of a missing pet.

Direction by Steven Cosson (also the writer of the piece, with one sequence written by Peter Morris) is sharp, as is the costume design by Sarah Beers. Featuring Emily Ackerman, Damian Baldet, Jennifer R. Morris, Stephen Plunkett, Robbie Collier Sublett, and Colleen Werthmann.