If you’ve ever seen an inscription in a used book and envisioned the person who wrote it, or stumbled upon a note meant for someone else and marveled, Philadelphia Theatre Company’s FOUND is speaking to you. Based on the true story of a guy who started collecting these written snapshots of stranger’s mindsets, FOUND charms with its mashup of musical numbers and playful juxtaposition of real “found” stuff that complements the moment.
While the focus is on three friends – Davy (Michael Haynie), Denise (Alysha Deslorieux), and Mikey (Juwan Crawley) – and their fictionalized journey turning a collection of stuff into a fully fledged magazine, they are supported by an exuberant ensemble that brings to life what the found objects inspire one to imagine. A synchronized projection shows various notes and letters in their original form, and a live band (with musicians visibly rocking out) rounds out the experience. The songs vary widely, and include classic ballads, boy band parodies, sci-fi techno, soulful R&B inspired by Old Country Buffet, and good ol’ honky-tonk. The plot line, however, follows predictable patterns. Instead of the characters creating the real interest, the projected notes are the real driver of the laughs, sighs, and deliciously awkward moments. In FOUND’s case though, this makes perfect sense, as showcasing these windows into human nature, that typically hide in plain sight, is what the play is all about.
[Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S Broad Street] November 9–December 11, 2016; philadelphiatheatrecompany.org.