gone missing - Sean Embrey-Stine Professor Meade Topics in...

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Sean Embrey-Stine Professor Meade Topics in Theatrical Literature March 2, 2011 Atlantis: Gone Missing With Gone Missing , the civilians deliver another no-narrative cabaret rife with all of their defining markers, including experiments with juxtaposition, songs, and the creative use of verbatim interviews. The play is structured around the theme of loss and nostalgia, making use of monologues and dialogue culled from interviews with people who had lost things. One of the most interesting and frequently occurring characters is Dr. Alexander Palinurus, author of a book about nostalgia. While most of the characters talk about the loss of sentimental objects, Palinurus’ lost object is an entire continent: the lost continent of Atlantis. By juxtaposing the ancient story of Atlantis with stories about objects that are important to people in the 21 st Century, the Civilians could have delivered a powerful and thought-provoking commentary on society. Instead, Palinurus presents an image of Atlantis that is inconsistent with the original source material and the Civilians miss an opportunity to send a powerful message. A factually accurate Atlantis motif could have drawn the audience’s attention to what modern society risks losing if certain things don’t change. When Palinurus first appears, the audience joins him on the middle of a radio interview with a host named Teri. Immediately, there is something different about this character in that he is discussing the loss of an entire continent, which represents something that humanity has lost as a whole, rather than something an individual human
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being has lost. Palinurus refers to Atlantis as a “fantastic island,” and compares it to the Garden of Eden. He dismisses the notion that the legend of Atlantis is a “myth,” preferring instead “to call it a literary fiction. Because we have an original source for the story, in the work of Plato.” He goes on to discuss Plato’s philosophy that “the things in
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  • Spring '11
  • LauralMeade

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