I began thinking about The Lost Child several years ago, after seeing the Werner Herzog film The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser. Hauser’s story is true, although it asks us to examine our notions of what makes something true. Kaspar Hauser appeared in the town square of Nuremburg, Germany in 1828, barely able to speak. He carried a letter that claimed he had been raised in total isolation, in a darkened cell. His story aroused great interest and controversy at the time, taking up the thread of both the European tradition of fantastical “wolf children”—feral children raised away from human society, often by animals—and then-contemporary philosophical debates on the noble savage and human nature. Kaspar Hauser certainly existed, yet he was almost as certainly an imposter, a fraud. For me his story is still true, but not in the way facts are true. It is somehow poetically true, existentially true—true not in the sense of being factual but as “ringing true,” creating a deep resonance.
For my story I have created the character Ana, who like Kaspar appears from nowhere. She interacts with four characters, all played by Benjamin Pierce: the Shadow Man, who brings her to Nuremburg; the Sector Manager, responsible for her discovery; the Adminstrator; and Dr. Nassar, who attempts to create a human connection with her.
All the sounds in this work are organic in nature. I took recordings of speech, birds, water, heartbeats, etc., and manipulated them digitally. Out of a handful of original samples I created 940 different sounds, which were then layered and sequenced to make the piece, which is about 40 minutes in duration.
The creation and production of The Lost Child was supported by the Independence Foundation, through its Fellowship program.
Kyle Bartlett, flute, electronics
Benjamin Pierce, actor/singer
Kristopher Rudzinski, percussion
Nik Grabowski, live sound engineering
"Pretty Bird" Hazel Dickens, used by permission