The Independent EyeLost City
Lost City

Eight passengers in an air terminal wait all night for an early morning flight to Boston. One is a playwright, reeling from his latest reviews, who interweaves their realities and his imaginings, stories of hope and regret.

Written by Conrad Bishop & Elizabeth Fuller, based on improvisations by ensemble members of Boston’s Company One.
Directed by Victoria Marsh in collaboration with Conrad Bishop
Music by Elizabeth Fuller
Designed by Sarah Shampois
Two acts; 4m/4w; unit set.

Produced by Company One in collaboration with The Independent Eye, premiering March 4, 2004, at Boston Center for the Arts (Boston, MA). 19 performances.

In Lost City, eight strangers are stranded overnight in the Rochester airport en route to Boston. Among them is Kareem, an energetic playwright whose latest work just got panned in the Chicago newspapers. It is through Kareem’s eyes—as part maestro and part imaginer—that each traveler reveals information about what the trip represents. Some stories are entertaining, others are tragic. All are intensely personal. . . .

The question is—are these conversations really happening? Are they even possible? Or is Kareem imaging them on his own? It even comes into question whether Kareem is really a playwright or just an office temp with an active imagination as the characters replay different versions of their conversations, almost as living revisions. . . .

In Lost City, the airport serves as a sort of emotional purgatory. Company One capably experiments with the shadowy gap between the search and the destination. And when sunrise arrives, it represents equally thoughts of new beginnings and basic survival.

—Gina Perille, The Boston Globe

An aspiring playwright, intent on slinking back to the Hub after receiving withering critiques in Chicago, discovers the secret life of strangers around him as the stereotypes—the devoted mother, the jock, the weirdo, the poor little rich woman and the overachiever—dissolve to reveal real people just trying to get by. The playwright realizes early on that if he “listens to what nobody is saying,” he will bypass surface impressions to dive into the characters sitting on three double-sided orange benches in the waiting area.

What keeps the play from being a “Breakfast Club” for adults is the control the playwright character wields within the play. He rewrites scenes, stops the action to fix “unrealistic” situations and quietly prompts the others for more disclosure. Unfazed by his directions, the characters fulfill his requests as if it were their own motivation, stopping only occasionally to ask him if he is writing all of it down. The characters preview and replay their uncomfortable choices, second chances and confrontations, punctuated by the weird guy’s hysterically funny interjections. . . .

Created in collaboration with the cast, the playwrights, Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller, peppered the script with Boston references and well placed comic relief, so that this well-fragmented tale of dreams, failures and desires clicked more often than not. They even provided the audience with a happy ending—not one of those treacly happily-ever-after endings, but a solid and real ending that even the irony tired can appreciate: getting on with one’s life another day at sunrise.

—Dawn Loring, The Weekly Dig, Boston