Reviews OWE & FringePerformance Published 20 March 2013


Camden People's Theatre ⋄ 18th March 2013

Points of departure.

William Drew

Playwright Tracy Harris takes to the stage for the first time in ten years in her new piece, performed as part of Sprint at CPT. Early on, she includes a disclaimer so that we know that some of the things she is going to tell us may not be real. The overriding impression is that we are hearing a series of deeply personal experiences of loss with occasional references to petty thefts (mostly clothes and stationery from relatives and friends but also a welcome mat from a hotel at her friend’s 21st). These range from a Tiny Tears doll left on a childhood camping trip to a ring inherited from her grandmother and a partner of ten years.

Harris starts by declaring that she has lost at the “game of life” (in response to the quiz show’s theme tune). There’s not a lot of investigation of what that means on a literal or literary level but a lot is infered through the various visual motifs that run throughout the piece. She describes walking out on her ten-year relationship and finding herself in a field: the most lost she’s ever been. We then see a video of her in a wedding dress, dancing around to a cheesy house track. For all the comedy of that moment, there’s a sense that what underlies all the physical objects that have been misplaced by Harris over the years transcend their actual value as objects. What has really been lost is a sense of certainty and this extends to the generation she identifies with, which she calls Generation Lost in a series of pre-recorded “letters”. When many of the assumptions that dictated the narratives of people’s lives have been stripped away, her generation (she never explicitly genders this but I think it’s not an element that is hard to ignore) are left free-wheeling and without direction, often gravitating towards self-destruction, as exemplified by a section where Harris downs a bottle of white wine. The nostalgic view of the past as a simpler time when people didn’t feel as lost, as embodied by her grandparents who met on the street one day and stayed together for fifty years, foregrounds her own “loss” in the game of life.

This idea of things that are passed down from one generation to the next and then sometimes lost and sometimes retained seemed to be an interesting point of departure in itself but it only emerged quite late into the piece and wasn’t ever really explored or interrogated through the text or other production elements. Instead, the piece felt like a series of points of departure, glimpses into moments of a life, incoherent because that is what people’s lives are often like.

What we are left with is a piece of fractured storytelling with the many of the familiar tropes of British avant garde theatre: lists of lost moments, dressing up in a shiny outfit you look ridiculous in, video projection, fairy lights, an unnecessary microphone. The piece is too suffused with irony to feel like genuinely sincere personal storytelling but, at the same time, it is too personal and specific to experiment with narrative form. It sits uneasily between the two positions and the end result is often charming but promises more than it ever really delivers.


William Drew

William Drew is a writer, narrative designer and dramaturg based in Brighton. He makes work at the intersection between live performance and gaming as Venice as a Dolphin and a Coney Associate. He is Associate Dramaturg of New Perspectives in Nottingham. He spent several years working in the Royal Court Theatre’s International and Literary Departments and has been a script reader for the National Theatre, Hampstead and Traverse Theatres. You can find out more about his work here:

Lost.Found.Stolen Show Info

Written by Tracy Harris

Cast includes Tracy Harris




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