/‘Pleasant’ not so pleasant 
Scene from Purple Side's show. Photo by Britton Wade, Photography editor.

‘Pleasant’ not so pleasant 

By Cady Inabinett, Editor in chief 

Purple Side’s “Pleasant Vanished” follows Carolynn Jack as she investigates the disappearance of the townspeople of Pleasant, Va. 

The show opens with the song “Perfect in Pleasant!” where Carolynn reveals that 20 years ago, in 1985, 247 people vanished from Pleasant while attending a fall festival. Carolynn lived in Pleasant before her mom and dad’s divorce, after which she moved to live with her mom, who had custody of her. 

As the song ends, the scene transitions to 2005, where Carolynn stops her professor, Eric Kauffman, to ask him what he knows about the disappearance of Pleasant. She has been spurred into investigating the disappearance after receiving her Aunt Viola’s diary in the mail. Carolynn has become convinced that the people of Pleasant are still alive. Eric says he does not personally know anything about the disappearance, but gives the contact of a friend who lived in Pleasant, Mary-Anne Connors. 

As Carolynn reads Aunt Viola’s diary, the scene transitions to 1985. Viola is worried because Sebastian, her brother and Carolynn’s dad, has been acting strange. Sebastian is in an argument with his friend, Eric—Carolynn’s professor. Viola interrupts their argument, but neither respond to her. Eric storms away. Sebastian tells Viola not to worry and to trust him. 

The scene switches to 2005. Reading the diary has left Carolynn with more questions than answers. She resolves to find the truth during the song, “What Is True?” 

Carolynn exits, and Viola enters. She is speaking with Eric in order to find out what is going on between him and Sebastian. Eric is preparing to leave town, and he warns her that she should too. He tells her that he’s worried Sebastian is going to do something dangerous, but won’t tell her what. Viola is even more confused, and sings “What Is True? Reprise.” 

In 2005, Carolynn is at Mary-Anne’s house. Carolynn asks about the fall festival before everyone vanished, prompting Mary-Anne to reminisce on the excitement of the festival. The townspeople were excited because Sebastian promised a surprise that would make magic real. 

As Mary-Anne tells the story, the scene switches back to 1985. The townspeople are buzzing around the festival as Sebastian addresses them. 

Viola pulls Sebastian aside to speak to him, demanding to know why Eric left town. Sebastian tells her that he didn’t know Eric had left, and returns to the festival. Viola writes in her diary that she’s going to find out what’s going on, even if Sebastian won’t tell her.  

Meanwhile, the festival-goers celebrate, singing “Magic Made Real.” 

Mary-Anne also tells Carolynn there’s another person, Alex Greene, who is investigating the vanishing.  

Carolynn hurries off to visit Alex, who draws her attention to the fact that there was a meteor shower over Pleasant at the same time that people began vanishing from the festival. 

Carolynn asks Alex who she lost from Pleasant. Alex becomes defensive, but eventually reveals she lost her little sister—singing “Left Behind.”  

Carolynn tells Alex about her father and aunt. Alex tells Carolynn that Sebastian was the mayor of Pleasant, information that Carolynn had never been told before. 

Back in 1985, Viola discovers a stash of notes that convince her Sebastian is plotting something terrible. She confronts him. Sebastian tries to reassure her that the situation isn’t what she thinks, but won’t explain the notes. He asks her to trust him. Together, they sing “Who Are You?” before Viola runs away. 

Back in 2005, Carolynn is at her mom’s house asking about Sebastian. Her mom says that she never told Carolynn about her dad’s involvement with the disappearance to keep her safe. She sings about realizing Sebastian was dangerous in “Left Behind Reprise.” 

When Carolynn mentions Eric helping her with the investigation, her mom wonders why Eric never told Carolynn anything about Sebastian. Carolynn was unaware that they knew each other. Her mom says Eric is the reason why she left Sebastian; he convinced her that Sebastian was dangerous. 

The scene transitions back to Pleasant, while Carolynn narrates that she had a dream where she saw Aunt Viola and all of the vanished people of Pleasant. She determines that they are trying to reach out to her for help, as the townspeople sing “Pleasant, Vanished.” 

Carolynn leaves to speak to Eric. She asks why he never told her anything about Sebastian. Eric says he was worried that telling her about him would hurt her. 

He begins to tell Carolynn about Sebastian’s ambitiousness through the song, “The World He Wanted.” He reveals that something shifted in Sebastian after he lost custody of Carolynn. Sebastian grew curious about how grief impacted the human brain, and approached Eric with an experiment idea. 

The scene cuts to 1985, where Sebastian and Eric are discussing their ideas. Eric agrees to help Sebastian with his experiment. 

Eric says Sebastian had spiraled and become secretive after the divorce. Sebastian was hyperfixated on his own grief, and let Eric believe that the experiment had died. 

The scene switches back to 1985, back to the argument between Eric and Sebastian shown earlier. Eric is saying that Sebastian can’t go forward with his plans because of the consequences it could have for the people of Pleasant, but Sebastian doesn’t care. 

Carolynn asks if Eric knows where Sebastian is now. He reveals that he received a letter from Sebastian once with a return address in Pleasant. 

Carolynn enters Sebastian’s house, singing “What is True? Reprise.” She sees Sebastian sitting in his house and becomes angry that he never left to visit her. He tells her that he could not abandon Pleasant or his home. Carolynn finds this answer to be hypocritical, since he destroyed Pleasant. Sebastian is confused by this reaction and asks why she thinks that. 

When Carolynn reveals that she has been speaking to Eric, Sebastian tells her she can’t trust anything Eric says because he ruined Sebastian’s life, and that it was actually Eric’s experiment that caused people to disappear from Pleasant. He claims that Eric framed Sebastian for his actions—getting Carolynn’s mom and Viola to distrust him. 

Sebastian begins to tell Carolynn about the vanishing. As the scene transitions back to 1985, festival-goers begin to walk away in a zombie-like trance.  

The scene switches back to 2005, as Eric enters. Sebastian tells Eric to tell Carolynn the rest of the story, and gets him a glass of water. 

Eric reveals that he placed microscopic robots in the Pleasant’s water supply. The robots were ingested by the townspeople and triggered by the electromagnetic flares of the meteor shower—prompting them to take control of the townspeople’s bodies. Eric tells Carolynn that he transported the townspeople to the bottom of the ocean. 

Carolynn demands to know why Eric did this. He reveals that he was deeply jealous of Sebastian. All three sing “Loose Ends,” where Eric celebrates his victory and Carolynn resolves to tell the people of Pleasant’s stories. 

Eric continues to gloat when Sebastian reveals that, since everyone vanished, he has been studying Eric’s notes and recreated his experiment.  

Eric realizes he has ingested the robots in the water that Sebastian gave him. Sebastian triggers the robots and sends Eric into the ocean, where he joins the residents of Pleasant.  

+ posts

Cady Inabinett is the editor in chief of The Alabamian. She’s majoring in English and double-minoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She enjoys reading, watching movies, caring for houseplants and generally just being pretentious in her free time.