So, anyone who knows me knows that the MSA production of “Lost Girl” by Kimberly Belflower threw me for several loops. Reactions including but not limited to: An entire poetry collection, including a 100+ line self portrait, an entire identity crisis (Short lived and easily resolved but still), and a little too close relation to the character of Wendy. That play made me take a good, long look at several core aspects of myself and my emotions, and put me through an emotional spectrum I haven’t felt in a very long time; the hallmark of truly great art. Naturally, it earns this month’s analysis.
DISCLAIMER: I am not giving a summary and reading further could spoil the play. Read at your own discretion. : )
The first fantastic aspect of this play is the way that it utilizes Peter Pan himself. Peter is built up as this great big concept, while so rarely being portrayed on stage. Such tactics are not uncommon in storytelling, particularly playwriting, but it’s done explicitly well here. Peter, conflated with the concept of himself Wendy has formed in her own memory and attached herself to, grows to represent and play the part of things much bigger than he could ever be. He’s the memory of Wendy’s last moments of joy, the now past concept of who she was, the personification of the only love she’s ever felt. He’s freedom, hope, love itself, happiness personified. But, when he finally comes back on stage, he’s simply Peter. He can’t, wasn’t, and won’t ever be any of those things, and the inevitable and wordless disappointment that comes with realizing this is the key catalyst to Wendy’s eventual recovery, which just happens to be one of the best utilizations of the concept I’ve seen in quite a while.
Another absolutely stunning aspect of this play is Belflower’s use of visual/conceptual metaphor. For example, the most obvious is the window in Wendy’s room. Throughout the whole play, in a show of persistence and pointless hope, Wendy keeps the window open, even when the cold air makes her sick. She does this from the day she returns as a child to the day she sees Peter again and begins to let go. When she realizes Peter can never be what she needs him to be, she asks him to leave and closes the window. She lets go of her hope. It’s the single most fitting ending I’ve ever seen. Other examples of masterful metaphor in the production is Wendy’s kiss, symbolizing anything from purity to happiness, as well as the bedroom itself, which is symbolic of Wendy’s past and her unwillingness to leave it. The play is packed full of masterful metaphors.
Finally, the best thing about this play, as with many, is the monologues, specifically Wendy’s. There are many instances I can, and will if prompted, go on and on about, but for the sake of word count I’m going to focus on one. That monologue is the one that is repeated/modified throughout the play. The infamous “I give myself eight minutes a day to think about him.” Throughout the production, Wendy delivers a version of this same monologue to the audience to benchmark where she is in her progress of letting go. It’s also her final monologue before she sees Peter again. The entire thing is always a wonderfully crafted literary masterpiece, but the mere concept of someone spending so much time in a certain thought process that they have a defined way to think about their own thoughts speaks for itself. The monologue is beautiful, truly.
Honorable mention to the use of the chorus/other girls. It’s truly one of the best writing tactics I’ve seen in a long time, and Belflower uses it masterfully.
Now, with all of that being said, I’ll close out now. Thank you for listening to my “Lost Girl” tangents, and I’ll see you next month!