Credit: Steven Townshend

Six years after she disappeared from her Detroit home, a girl called Sophie
(Clara Byczkowksi) turns up at a homeless shelter in Canada. She’s 17. She
doesn’t remember much about her past beyond her name. The little girl lost
is now found, and her family rejoices. Barbara Lhota’s new play Girl Found begins with the happy ending, then explores its dark
origins and aftermath.

The troubles begin to reveal themselves from the moment Ellie (Katherine
Swan) arrives at the shelter to retrieve Sophie: Ellie is Sophie’s aunt and
legal guardian. Sophie’s mother, Eva (Tricia Rogers), also lives with her.
Eva is an addict and a liar. Ellie is a bartender and a codependent. Noah
(James Mercer), Ellie’s ex-fiance and Sophie’s father figure, works in
medical IT and left town after Sophie vanished. Sophie’s return ought to be
the glue that brings them back together, yet as they discover, their
problems don’t evaporate because of one miracle. The continued probing of
the social worker (Sara Robinson), psychologist (Kathrynne Wolf), news
reporter (Whitney Dottery), and federal agent (Robinson again) uncovers
traumas and flaws; Noah, Ellie, and Eva struggle to achieve a harmonious
domestic life; Sophie’s childhood best friend (Dottery) has difficulty
recognizing her. Is loss more orienting than its resolution, or is it
simply impossible to compensate for events of the past? Unfortunately, the
play doesn’t really examine these questions with any more depth than a
Lifetime movie. Idle Muse’s production, directed by Alison Dornheggen,
features a high-quality ensemble on a distractingly overblown set by Sarah
Lewis.   v