“You can’t leave, not until you remember what you lost”
When you think of independent theater, you think of a departure from the expected and Lossy delivers. Lossy an original play by the local ensemble group, WanderLost Laboratory Theatre opened last night at the Slate Theater. The theater space is a simple square surrounded on all sides by audience chairs. An intimate space that puts the audience on the same level as the actors. As an audience we feel grounded in the action and well-placed to observe the movement of character and evolution of their story.
The play opens with a lone woman who wakes in terror to find herself holding nothing but an orange and her lost memories. Her clothes are tattered and she utters words in a foreign language. Our inability to understand her meaning mimics her disorientation. Before long the stage fills with other characters. There’s the perennially upbeat woman who calls herself a “guide” and there’s her superiors; two bureaucrats who dribble dehumanizing corporate speak. We soon learn that the lost woman with the orange is actually an undocumented person. As the play progresses so does our knowledge about this woman. Her journey of reclaiming her memories and identity is paralleled by the development of some of the other characters. The bubbly guide who likes to joke in rhymes comes to terms with some of her demons and the robotic bureaucrats learn to humanize.
The structure of the play is varied and keeps the interest going. It includes elements of theater acting, dance, and audiovisuals. The different elements are well-coordinated and seamlessly come together as a whole. The lighting and sound production is effective. Importantly the actors are experienced and deliver their message with clarity and sincerity.
None of the characters are named, they’re representations of human figures we all recognize. Apart from the main characters there’s a woman who’s lost her baby and a forlorn lover. I did wish that the forlorn lover’s representation on stage was more symbolic. He delivers a long narrative where he juxtaposes romantic Parisian love with underground catacombs which wasn’t as effective at eliciting either pathos or irony. The thorough development of the main characters is sufficient to carry the play. While there are pointed references to the politics of today, such as the problems of the undocumented, the play doesn’t strangle the audience with a one track point of view. Instead, the play broadens its scope to consider how being undocumented is part of a bigger human project called “loss.”
This play at only 55 minutes long is engaging and thought provoking. It’s worth seeing not just to support new and independent talent but to connect with a message about loss that we can all relate to.
Lossy, by WanderLost Laboratory Theatre,The Slate Theater, inside the Inscape Arts building 815 Seattle Blvd.S Seattle, International District (corner of 4th Ave S & Seattle Blvd S) WA, 98134. Saturday, March 11th @ 7:30pm, Sunday, March 12th @ 2:00pm. Info: Tickets at http://lossy.brownpapertickets.com/ or at the door.