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When Things Are Lost

a Comedy/Drama
by Derek Dixon

COMPANY : Essential Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : West End Performing Arts Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 4939

SHOWING : August 05, 2016 - August 27, 2016



If someone you loved went missing, how far would you go to find them? A man goes on a dream quest to figure out what happened to his best friend, who seems to have disappeared. Derek Dixon’s WHEN THINGS ARE LOST is a funny and moving play about friendship, loss, understanding and forgiveness.

Director Amber Bradshaw
Production Manager/TD Elisabeth Cooper
Andrew Barrett Doyle
Leandro, Bum 1, Policeman 1, Angry Man, Tony Goolsby
Gina, Woman in White, Manager Jill Perry
Brittany, Angry Lady, Kelly, Guard, Poli Gina Rickicki
Kate, Celeste, Lady, Lady 2, Crowd Chelsea Steverson
Jimmy, Jacques, Todd, Policeman B, Hal Kerwin Thompson
Employee, Jamie, Patrick, Man Behind, Cr Alex Towers
Man, Bunny, Father, Bum2 Alex Van
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Too Much Lost
by playgoer
Saturday, August 6, 2016
Essential Theatre is doing no favors to Derek Dixon in its production of his "When Things Are Lost." This is a dream/memory play, but director Amber Bradshaw has chosen to do it in a very realistic manner. Danyale Taylor has been tasked with supplying rooms and rooms of furniture and a wide variety of props. Each scene takes place in a new locale (with a few repeats late in the show), and action basically stops as one set of furniture is struck and another bunch of stuff is brought onstage. This realism extends to Jane B. Kroessig’s various costumes (with one costume change also halting the show). Harley Gould’s lighting design and Nathan Brown’s sound design use sounds and dimming/brightening lights to help establish some of the more surreal action, but it’s not enough. This is a show that calls for a fluid, abstract design philosophy, and Essential is not equipped to provide that.

The stage set-up is the same as for "Dispossessed," with platforms in opposite corners of the performance space, resulting in some very awkward viewing angles for front-row audience members. Four windows placed high up near the lights are the only permanent furnishings; an refrigerated supermarket case and a door are revealed by parting black curtains, but otherwise the set elements need to be brought on and taken off.

Barrett Doyle plays Andrew, a young man thrown into dream-like experiences that at first he doesn’t understand. Eventually, it comes out that his friend Michael is not a missing person, as Andrew initially believes in his foggy mental state; Michael has committed suicide. As the play proceeds, Andrew finds himself in situations that Michael faced in his life, with others treating him as if he were Michael. Mr. Doyle is called upon to be morose throughout, and his sorrowful presence counteracts much of what would otherwise appear purely silly.

The other cast members play multiple parts. Gina Rickicki impresses most with her often vivid characterizations, but everyone is merely all right in some scenes. Ms. Bradshaw doesn’t seem to have inspired her cast to their best possible work.

The script is long, with a foray into France that really doesn’t add much to the story (except bad accents). The surreal quality of the initial scenes generally falls flat. These first scenes go on a little too long, with no pay-off until near the end of the play. On initial viewing, they seem chaotic, episodic, opaque, and intentionally perplexing. Once we know that Michael is at the center of the story, pieces start to fall in place. Still, there’s a sudden leap of insight that something must have happened in Michael’s childhood that seems to come out of left field and seems intended to drive the play to its conclusion (which is itself a bit extended).

With some paring and tightening, and with a design aesthetic better suited to the material, "When Things Are Lost" could be a fascinating, affecting play. As it stands, Essential Theatre has taken a unique theatrical voice and muffled it with a wrong-headed production. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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