I’ve never found the topic of loss to be a pleasant one. Yet — while it was sometimes frustratingly confusing — I thoroughly enjoyed the Todd production of “Gone Missing.”
The musical, based on a set of interviews by the Civilians, a New York City theater troupe, tells stories of loss, ranging from rings, to a photograph, to life, to a shoe.
In one of the more cohesive parts of the musical, Laura (sophomore Madeleine Fordham), repeatedly calls Tom (senior Rick Carl) about a lost Gucci pump.
This exchange lasted several minutes, but other stories were broken up, with segments of each person’s story sandwiched in two others’. This form of broken-up stories made the play at times confusing.
One such instance was when sophomore Olivia Banc (a Campus Times columnist), senior Rosie Flanagan, and junior Fan Xia were telling their character’s stories of losing their own precious rings. While I could appreciate the connection between the stories, I found the scrambled storytelling method hard to follow.
And I was truly lost during a Spanish-language song called “La Bodega.” The song featured exceptional choreography and an incredible singing performance from sophomore Shawn Cummings. But I couldn’t understand the story within the song, which detracted from the enjoyment of the scene. The story never felt fully recovered, even when Cummings read the translation of the song to the audience.
More effective was the design of the number “Hide and Seek.”
The stage was completely dark except for four actors onstage with flashlights. The effect was strong. I felt as if these people were actually searching for something.
The choreography was particularly effective in the closing number, “Stars,” sung by junior Ewan Shannon. Contrary to what I was expecting, the use of a disco ball fit well, adding to the overall impact of the song.
Every single song was enhanced by the work of the band — Reagan Casteel, Sean Knapp, and Ben Schmitz (Campus Times publisher). Their passion in playing shone, as if each member of the band were singing the song themselves.
The band had non-musical involvement during several scenes as well. The most impactful instance was during a scene in which senior Adrian Go played a security guard telling the story of his experience on 9/11. During the monologue, members of the cast and band alike stood, looking off into the distance.
The cast took full advantage of the construction of the set, which was comprised of open storage shelves arranged in orderly chaos.
The most bothersome element of the play was the inclusion of a large TV screen in the set. There were times when it was handy — providing subtitles for a German song at one point — but during the beginning of the show, the screen distracted from what was going on onstage.
Amid the confusion of the numerous stories in the show, I enjoyed how many of them were punctuated by ironic humor.
Despite spending a large portion of the musical somewhat confused, what ultimately helped bring everything together in the end was a mock NPR interview with Teri (Banc) and Dr. Palinurus (Go). The NPR program interjected in several points throughout the musical, which I felt were strong points of the play. The segment kept the confusion from getting too out of control, in part by tying together the various stories through topics like Atlantis and eels. With the inclusion of the NPR program, the musical was a little less confusing, and Go’s monologue in the final NPR segment helped bring everything together.
At the end of the show, the lights and sound faded. In the moments of silence and darkness that followed, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of loss myself. While I heard segments of people’s stories of loss, none of the stories were complete. It was as if a part of them had gone missing.
Correction (10/7/18): An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that senior Rosie Flanagan was a junior.