I stood outside Teatro LATEA eagerly awaiting my first Fringe play of the year, Landscape with Missing Person. When I read the description, I was instantly drawn to the story: I’m a sucker for plays that involve unlikely friendships. And with the subtitle A Comedy about Finding What You Didn’t Know You Were Looking For, I was sold right away. The play opens on an abandoned North Carolina bus stop. It is there that we meet Rachel, a loudmouth runaway teenage punk toting a knapsack and a sparkly purple ukulele which appears to be her only worldly possession. Rachel happens upon Don, a reserved middle aged man staring blankly ahead into the distance. Initial attempts at engaging him in conversation are for the most part unsuccessful, but this does not deter young Rachel. Slowly, she gets him to open up, which includes playing him a vulgar song on her ukulele. Eventually, she discovers that Don is searching for his missing wife and he believes she may be in San Francisco. Rachel offers to accompany him and, thus, their adventure begins.
Rachel and Don go on an unforgettable journey. They meet several interesting characters along the way, each revealing hidden vulnerabilities, which causes Rachel and Don to expose their inner selves. The relationship between the duo is touching and genuine. It is impossible not to be charmed by Landscape with Missing Person. Note: It is a comedy with heavy subject matter such as rape, mental illness, and death.