A play for radio by Jessica Brown, Lost or Stolen was first aired on 22nd May and is still available as a download on the BBC Radio 4 Drama of the Week Podcast. If you don’t currently subscribe or even have a smart phone with which to host the podcast app, I strongly recommend rectifying this situation now – particularly so you can listen to Lost or Stolen of course. The Drama of the Week podcast is an excellent way of receiving further cultural delights in your week, with minimum effort.
Lost or Stolen is the first radio play by writer Jessica Brown, who is a graduate of the Royal Court Young Writers programme. It centres on two characters, Sarah and Dan, who have a chance meeting on a night out. Dan seems the romantic one, pursuing the girl as she leaves a night club.
A large part of the narrative is told through internal monologues, from both characters. This leaves nowhere for the writer to hide, Brown had clearly thought out her characters, resulting in believable personalities, each or whom have their own little quirks.
I enjoyed this minimal approach, which in some instances can seem simplistic and not hold your attention. The play followed the characters through several other meetings, some planned, some more by chance; asking you to question city life and the coincidences we all encounter and what they mean.
Both characters seem lonely for various reasons, and both Dan and Sarah go on a journey in this play trying to either form or avoid connections with others. It would be interesting to play around with different endings, perhaps something less ‘finished’, as I could see several ways that their story, together or not, could end.
The writing is wonderful as the story emerges in a natural and unforced way, I didn’t feel as though I was being told something or shown something. The medium of Radio was put to excellent use, taking the listener to several locations using different soundscapes.
I am also particularly interested in using modern technology in drama, and telling stories which accurately demonstrate how we communicate these days. Using phones and social media etc. I praise Brown for doing something very few writers of radio or stage drama seem to be doing.