Lost Child! Fifty Dollar Reward, Van Chester Productions, at Angel Island. Unlike most playwrights twice his age, Sean Farrell has mastered the art of economy. There isn’t an ounce of fat or gristle in his latest semiautobiographical monologue, Lost Child! Fifty Dollar Reward–which is somewhat surprising given his reputation for highly intellectual and philosophical work. But the graceful, seamless way he ties together disparate images and ideas suggests that he’s taken a more laid-back, easygoing approach with this play: Farrell’s metaphors evolve slowly from the text, creating something unique and transcendent.
A prolific writer and Loyola University alum, Farrell has staged eight of his plays in various local theaters in the past four years. And like many of his previous works, this monologue features a character struggling with self-definition. A sort of travel guide for the emotionally disconnected, Lost Child! details its protagonist’s journey from a university library in Michigan to a navy boot camp to a singles bar in Chicago–always in search of spiritual fulfillment and ever greater epiphanies.
David Patrick does an excellent job of drawing out the monologue’s details and nuances. But ultimately Farrell’s bons mots and world-weary observations create the evening’s most distinct and lasting impression. “Life is about pursuing what you love to do; as long as you do it, you’re never lost,” the protagonist muses at one point. If Lost Child! is any indication, Farrell has found what he loves to do.