Friday, October 6, 2006
KU play looks at disappearance

A KU graduate student's play about a Linwood high school senior who vanished eighteen years ago opens tonight. The play will take place today and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at the Lawrence Arts Center, located at Ninth and New Hampshire streets. Tickets are $6 for students and $10 for others.

By Darla Slipke

Harold and Alberta Leach watched with tears streaming down their faces Wednesday night as different scenarios of their son’s mysterious disappearance were depicted in the rehearsal of a play by University of Kansas graduate student Tim Macy.

Eighteen years ago, Randy Leach, then a Linwood high school senior, disappeared on the night of a pre-graduation party. The mystery of his disappearance was never solved, but Macy examined the circumstances surrounding it in his play, “Leaves of Words.”

The play presented various scenarios that could possibly explain Leach’s disappearance, including suicide and his running off to California.

Macy sat next to the Leaches Wednesday night and watched the rehearsal for his play performed by the English Alternative Theater. Macy said it was “nerve-wrecking” waiting to see how the Leaches would react to the play, which showed their son’s being killed multiple times in gruesome ways.

But the Leaches were grateful for Macy’s work.

“At intermission, they turned to me and said I did a good job,” Macy said.

Harold Leach, who welcomed the idea of the play, said Macy did a “fantastic job.” He said the play was done in “very good taste.”

The investigation surrounding Leach’s disappearance has been ongoing for eighteen years. He said he would like Macy’s play to generate more awareness of his son’s disappearance and encourage people to come forward with information.

Stephen Lim, professor of English who advised Macy during the play-writing process, said that the hardest part of writing the play was filtering through all of the information.

“We had to telescope the eighteen years down to a story that we could tell in an hour and a half,” Lim said.

Macy sat down to visit with the Leaches in Linwood for several hours at a time on multiple occasions. He also spoke extensively to Harold Leach during phone conversations and read through hundreds of pages of documents related to the case that included rumors, tips and court papers.

Despite all of Macy’s research, he said his play was not a historical account of what happened. Rather, it’s “loosely based” on what was believed to have happened on the night of Leach’s disappearance.

The play is being considered for several awards and is an entry in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Kansan staff writer Darla Slipke can be contacted at

— Edited by Shanxi Upsdell

Original Story Located Here

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