by Ariel Mitchell, dramaturg

How do you start rehearsing on a play without a script?

Selections from Gone Missing and The Cleverest Thief opens this February in the Margetts theatre at BYU and although we’ve started rehearsals, we don’t yet have a script. Instead we are creating a story through a process called devising.

Gone Missing is a devised piece created by The Civilians, a New York based theatre troupe. Inspired by the attacks on 9/11, they wanted to create a story about loss and losing things. They went around their city (Manhattan) and asked whomever they could find, “What is an object you have lost?” They collected the stories, formed them into monologues, created characters and put them together into a larger piece of theatre full of song, film, and interesting anecdotes that bring new meaning into the idea of “loss.” Inspired by this piece our director, Professor Lindsay Adamson Livingston, decided that we should try this in our own community of Provo, UT.

Production photo from The Civillian’s “Gone Missing”

Recently, we were privileged to work with a representative from The Civilians, Emily Ackerman. She sent us out into Provo to interview people. We took the stories we found and presented them in our daily workshops. When we found stories we liked we matched them with stories of similar themes or characters to create a moment. As we continue, we will choose which moments will make it into the show, slowly piecing together our story.

We are aiming to have a first draft of the script in mid-October. But until then we get to go out and collect stories.

So… what’s an object you’ve lost?

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