Imagine you are coming back from a college party, and all of a sudden, you end up in a room with Sylvia Plath, a woman stuck in the 1960’s, a washed up celebrity and a deranged seven year old. Welcome to the world of Lost Girls. Written and directed by Charlie Madison ’15, the production told the story of college student Daniela. Daniela (Mira Kessler ’16) is at a fraternity party and suddenly ends up in an enclosed space from which the audience later finds out no one can get in or out. Each of the women she meets in the room has experienced something that has caused them to have gone astray, such as depression, abuse or addiction. At the end of each performance, Madison and the cast participate in a talk-back with the cast answering questions and receiving feedback about the performance which Madison describes as, “a work in progress.”

Sylvia Plath (Lily Elderkin ’18), author and poet, is in the room for her real-life depression that caused her to take her own life. Jessie (Julia Davidovitz ’15), a seven-year-old girl, a victim of child abuse, is also in the room, as well as Kitty (Abby Kirshbaum ’16), based on the real Kitty Genovese who was brutally murdered while thirty-seven people watched. The character is a victim of an abusive relationship. There is also Mehdi (Joanna Murphy ’17), a former child star who went to the dark side and became an alcoholic and drug addict. Each of these women is lost in her own life only to end up in a room together where they need to deal with their issues head on. In the process, each woman gains some perspective about how their lives are not failures and that they need to accept all that has happened to them. The play does not specify why Daniela is in the room and it is up to the audience to create their own interpretation.

The show was presented in a unique way with a simple set structure that only consisted of piles of boxes, representing the confusing and prison-like atmosphere. The music between scenes, the dramatic sound effects and lighting in particular contributed to the science fiction nature of the show.

Each actress was fantastic in her own right. Kessler embodied the tenacity and sensitivity of Daniela as the character shows her growth in leadership when she tries to rally the rest of the women to find a way out of the place. Elderkin stood out as Sylvia. She channeled the author’s old-fashioned nature and really captured the essence of a troubled woman who thought that, by committing suicide and leaving two children behind, she would cause her children to lead unhappy lives. It is hard to believe that Elderkin is merely a first year. Her acting was one of the more sophisticated performances I have seen.

As the troubled wife Kitty, Kirshbaum had the rawest personality on stage. She portrayed a woman so obsessed with her husband, even as his brutality towards her was apparent. In one scene, Kirshbaum cried and screamed with such emotion that the audience could feel her pain and denial. As Mehdi, Murphy created a metehorical wall for herself that allowed the audience to see how celebrities shield their true emotions from the world.

While each actress created a part for herself, the actress that truly embodied her character was Davidovitz. She was quick to point out in the talk back with the audience after the show that she was in fact 22 years old when she was describing her acting process. She played the character with a mixture of heart, humor, insanity and a genuine desire to be loved. Davidovitz said in the talk back that she spoke to former victims of child abuse and embodied their stories while creating a story for herself in the process.

When asked at the talk-back about his writing process, Madison said that he wrote a seven page sample of the play six months ago in a playwriting class. The initial story was about a man who was with Daniela and the struggle of the two of them trying to get out of the space. Madison said that the story eventually morphed into focusing on the struggles of a few women and ended up depicting how we all can feel truly lost.