Edinburgh Fringe 2013
A moving insightful exploration of the impact of someone close to you going missing. A strong young ensemble worked to creat a verbatim piece, providing a glimpse into the lives and experiences of those left behind as well those whose job it is to support them and to search.
Missing is a new piece of verbatim theatre based on interviews carried out by the cast. It has been developed over a period of time – beginning with the central story of Luke who simply vanished from a bar while his friend was buying a round of drinks seven years ago. Luke’s story, or more accurately, the story of his mother, his sister and his two close friends still provides a thread through the play.
However, the group then expanded it to include an historical perspective with the disappearance in 1957 of 11yr old Moira Anderson. They also explored the experiences of other families as well as the police and those involved in searching for missing people and supporting their families.
@engineer worked with the material to distill it to the play they are now presenting. This clearly took some time and seems to have been done with considerable sensitivity judging by the reported response of Luke’s mother and the emotions that the play aroused in the audience. The fidget level was almost at zero throughout the hour long show.
The result is a powerful glimpse into the experience for families – that someone can disappear in an instant, the ways in which the early days unfold, then time freezes… as well as some sense of what it is like for those professionals, particularly the police who are part of the jigsaw of help and support. In particular the play highights the different ways that services and the media respond depending on age, gender and race.
There is no set as such, a simple set of differently sized boxes serve to create spaces, furniture and the passing of time. An original soundtrack including interview fragments, media reports and material from the Moira Anderson Foundation helps to vary the pace and approach.
The cast are a strong young ensemble group who moved easily between the different roles although like many companies where all are a similar age some of the older characters were a challenge for them. They would do well to consider expanding their group in future projects to provide a broader age range.
The dialogue is very naturalistic and feels to be rooted in the interviews and real words of the interviewees. The result is subtely different to hearing a script written by one person as each protagonist is addressing the audience as well as each other.
Noise from an adjacent space was intrusive at times making it difficult at times to differentiate the play’s soundtrack.
I left wanting to know more and would have appreciated a little more detail in the programme – some notes to the background of the show, how it was developed and links to find out more about the subject.
Overall, this is a powerful evocation of a little of what a family goes through when someone, especially a child or young person, goes missing.