Winner of the 2012 Francesca Primus Prize
In the early 90’s in Sudan after civil war destroyed their villages, an exodus of boys trekked eight hundred miles across Africa until making it to refugee camps in Kenya where they lived on a bowl of grain a day for ten years. In 2001, the U.S. resettled 3,600 of these “Lost Boys” in cities across America.
LOST BOY FOUND IN WHOLE FOODS tells the story of Christine, a recently divorced “East Ender” from Pittsburgh who meets Gabriel, a former “Lost Boy” working in the produce section of Whole Foods. Soon Gabriel’s world becomes enmeshed with hers and daughter Alex -- leading to a remarkable journey of awareness, struggle and hopefulness. The play asks the question: what happens when we open up our lives to help another human being -- leaving us to wonder about the effect of one soul upon another.
"Ryan's play poignantly and powerfully integrates a personal story with a current world issue. When single mother Christine meets Gabriel, one of the "lost boys" from Sudan, in the produce section of a Pittsburgh Whole Foods where he works, the two form a relationship that changes both their lives. The play avoids easy, feel-good answers in exploring the very different ways that Christine and Gabriel think he should deal with the challenges he faces. As Pittsburgh theater critic Christopher Rawson perceptively observes, "the person who is most truly lost amid middle-class comfort is..Christine...[the play charts] the faltering, one-forward, one-back steps she takes to find her own usefulness and meaning." - The American Theater Critics Association upon awarding the play the Francesca Primus Prize 2012.