As part of 45North’s Written on the Waves series, Found is an audio play meant to make theatre available to everyone, everywhere. It is the story of Ziazan, of loss, grief, and how hard it can sometimes be to connect with yourself and the world around you. Especially in times such as these. Ziazan’s story is told interactively by letting the listeners click their way through her personal blog, one day at a time. Each day reveals a diary entry, often accompanied by a picture or a video and even a few recipes, which the listeners are encouraged to try their hands at themselves.
At the very top of Ziazan’s blog is the word ‘Found’ written in bold wanted poster letters followed by a drawing of a girl (it takes no great thinker to work out that this must be Ziazan) and a brief introduction to this unique play. After having read the introduction, I press the first ‘play’-button, and with a potpourri of COVID-related news excerpts interlaced with an increasingly insisting techno beat the play has begun.
At first, the format of a voice reading aloud text that is already presented on the screen does no wonders for me. It seems a bit staccato, bodiless and lacks pace. This is only true for the first few minutes, however, and no sooner has the thought crossed my mind, than the play ups its tempo, and I start getting used to the format. Another way that I am eased into this new theatre experience is by the sound design and illustrations by Anna Short and Katie Gabriel Allen, respectively. It adds dimensions to the soundscape as well as give my eyes something to do instead of gazing out of the window and risk losing focus.
Jessie Bedrossian is the voice of Ziazan. She delivers Abi Zakarian’s beautiful writing with increasing earnestness and soul throughout the play. Her diary entries are occasionally interrupted by more or less distant memories that give depth and background to the immediate story. In these memories it is especially the voice of Stevie (played by Ché Francis) that stands out. This is in equal measure thanks to the crucial part they play in Ziazans journey to get better and Francis’s vibrant portrayal of Stevie, which brought a few chuckles out of me.
45north aims at redefining the sense of a shared theatre experience in a time of separation and does so most creatively with this moving and relatable piece of writing.
Review: Julie Renata Image: Katie Gabriel Allen