Westwood Horizon

Senior Directed Show ‘Missing Piece’ Tackles Tough Topic

The+cast+of+%27Missing+Piece%27+assembles+on+stage+with+their+director.
The cast of 'Missing Piece' assembles on stage with their director.

The cast of 'Missing Piece' assembles on stage with their director.

The cast of 'Missing Piece' assembles on stage with their director.

Rustin Mehrabani-Farsi, Reporter

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Working with Support Texas Adoptee Rights, theater student Megan Purcell ‘18 and her fellow students put on a play called Missing Piece on April 27 and 28. Taking place in the 1970s, a time when attitudes towards adoption began to shift, the performance is about the story of Erin Birt, a woman in her late 20’s who discovers that she is adopted. The play then follows her as she attempts to find her adopted parents, but encounters roadblocks due to adoption laws along the way.

“With this I wanted to really show the issue to a new audience,” Purcell said. “I’m the child of an adoptee, and I’m thankful enough that my mother reunited with her birth parents, so I have a relationship with both my grandparents on that side, and I think I’ve really benefited from it, so I want to help other people get that same opportunity.”

Purcell wrote the play herself and was in charge of casting the roles for her play. Wanting to make sure it would really capture the emotions people go through when finding out their adopted, Purcell selected her cast members from a group of fellow students, and cast Paris Bowman ‘18 as the lead role of Erin Birt.

“I just wanted to be a part of something that was this intimate and important to so many people in this world,” Bowman said, “but it was also a message and a story that needed to be brought out to more people. I think it touched a lot of people’s hearts and it also informed them.”

However, playing a lead role that meant so much to so many people put a lot of pressure on Bowman to nail the part. Adapting to this role proved to be a unique challenge for Bowman because she had no personal experience with adoption and didn’t know exactly how one would feel or react.

“It was very different. And I think that’s what drew me to this play,” Bowman said. “I would’ve been fine with any character, but the character of Erin is so complex. I’ve never done something like this before, and I knew I had to get this right because it was important to so many people. It was also important to me because I have a different situation than adopted people. However, I wanted to put myself in their place to represent them, [and] I wanted this to be something they could relate to.”

Despite a lot of work that needed to be done, Purcell and her cast had a successful performance, and did well in spreading the word about adoption rights to many people.

“I’ve heard some people who’ve said that they knew a bit about the issue and this helped educate them a lot,” Purcell said. “I think, especially with my cast, working to educate them on the issue was especially helpful. I’m really happy that Westwood Theater was able to help me with this production.”

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