Loss can take many different forms. From the loss of something seemingly minor like a set of keys, to the emotional loss of your relationship with a relative, A Compendium of Lost Things explores the multiple types and layers of loss in a heartfelt show told through the narratives of individuals who have each lost something.
The narratives are told as a series of vignettes, with the lost items starting off as small physical items like a camera. Despite these items’ apparent frivolous nature and the light-hearted storytelling approach applied to these first few sketches, there is an apparent depth to the story which reminds the audience that even small lost items can have an impact. In one vignette the audience is reminded of the kindness of strangers and that lost items aren’t always gone forever, when a woman finds her lost camera after a series of serendipitous events.
Throughout the show there is a subtle transition to heavier topics such as the loss that comes with the inability to maintain a relationship with someone close to us. As a whole, the script and the actions of the actors are excellent in making this move and setting the stage for the exploration of these heavier topics. However, there individual moments during the first couple of vignettes lose both meaning and impact when the stage becomes too busy.
Of the vignettes told, the most poignant is the story of a young woman whose grandfather suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. The power of this vignette comes from multiple factors including the acting and the first-person storyteller approach; however, the biggest impact comes from breaking up of the story into parts scattered throughout the show, thus allowing for the emotional reality of the story to sink in for the audience.
With mimimal props, the actors are able to set up scenes that allow visualisation and the feeling of an emotional depth with the actual shift between sketches being effective in setting up a new scene. There are moments when the quick-cut nature of the transitions sometimes cuts short the potential impact of the previous scene, and this can be felt when watching some of the vignettes related to the woman’s story of her grandfather’s Alzheimer’s experience.
By the end of the show, the vignettes and lost items come together to leave the audience with an emotional impact; one which, as the lights turn down, leaves the audience wondering how their personal lost items define them.
A Compendium of Lost Things
C Venues – C (Venue 34)
Photo credit: Francesca Long