Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Theater Review (NYC): Gone Missing

Written by Tullis McCall

Oh - just go see this.

Go see this if you are in love with someone and want an evening that will bind up the little scratchy gaps you are feeling right now. Go see this if there is someone you love as a chum and want to share an evening that will sweep you into an intimate dinner conversation. Go see this with that person you've been meaning to ask out but you are too nervous or you just haven't found the right place or you are afraid of going to something that will put you both off your feed.

Or, if you are like me, go see it alone. Who cares - just go.

When you leave this production you will be thinking about people you miss, people for whom you are grateful, or you may be wishing you had more people in your life that you would miss were they gone. You will be thinking about little items from your past: the time you thought you lost that letter, or the time you left your wallet on the counter at the liquor store, or the time you said goodbye to someone and walked away quickly so they wouldn't see you tear up. You will be thinking about the story of the pet who came back home, or the one who didn't. And you will certainly be thinking of time and the way it slips through you like bran.

Or you might be thinking about world losses as they do here: Atlantis - if it was a continent, how did we lose it? Or universal losses: Romantic revenge - "If you've lost your self-confidence, your direction, your respect for yourself - I have them and I'm not giving them back." Then there are the corporal issues, such as what happens when a body loses some of its parts?

The performances are spot on, with the exception of the women's tendency to do that bent elbow, limp wrist thing that actors do on stage (never off stage) when they don't know what to do with their hands. Each actor plays several parts with the added bonus of women playing men and visa versa.

What has gone missing for you? It's here somewhere in this elegant piece. Compiled from interviews and enhanced with a score that includes harmony, low down swing, soft rock and multi-lingual serenades, Gone Missing zips in and out of lives that are a whisper's length removed from our own.

At the evening's conclusion, the actors leave behind a little of the wrapping that contained them. They leave us a memento, something by which to remember them when they are gone. The mementos remain like the stories we tell, like small stones placed on a grave or on the side of a path. They are proof that we passed this way.

Gone Missing, written and directed by Steven Cosson; music and lyrics by Michael Friedman. With: Emily Ackerman, Damian Baldet, Jennifer R. Morris, Stephen Plunkett, Robbie Collier Sublett and Colleen Werthmann. Sets by Takeshi Kata; costumes by Sarah Beers; lighting by Thomas Dunn; sound by Ken Travis; choreography by Jim Augustine; production stage manager, Robert Signom III; Andy Boroson, David Purcell and Steve Gilewski, musicians; Mr. Boroson, music director. Presented by Scott Morfee and Tom Wirtshafter; in association with the Civilians, Kyle Gorden, producing director; Mr. Cosson, artistic director.

At the Barrow Street Theater, 27 Barrow Street, West Village, NYC; (212) 239-6200. Extended through January 2008. Running time: 1 hour 20 minutes.