Based on interviews with New Yorkers and people around the country, the Civilians theater group has created a show of multiple caricatures: studies of individuals drawn through tales of objects lost and found. A group of six actors in gray suits (men and women) act out multiple stories — sometimes in song and dance, sometimes in interview form — ranging from funny and heartfelt to downright insignificant. The best of these stories are insightful and hilarious, while the worst come off as filler, which is to be expected with any show of short sketches. The point at which the stories merge provides enough pay-off to give justice to the idea of examining, at length, the things people lose.
At the center of the whole production is one interview, with a Dr. Palinurus, that each member of the cast participates in at some point, either as the interviewer or as Palinurus himself. Among laments to lost toys, shoes, jewelry, etc, the Doctor provides an academic discussion about loss itself and the myths and emotions driving the concept. He talks about the lost continent of Atlantis and the Sargasso Sea, where things disappear among the thick seaweed of the Bermuda Triangle; even the mystery surrounding eels is touched upon (referred to as the lost eel testes) which is an incredible story. Seriously, with all that science can do, still not much with the eels — a subject worth wikipedia-ing.
The Civilians exhibit real talent on stage in Gone Missing, and while their concept is at times forced, there are enough entertaining bits, trivia facts and thought points to make an evening with them well enough spent.