Arts

An Obscure, Yet Empowering Play

An overview of the bewildering “Far Away”

By Victoria Ifatusin

Credit: Alex Salmieri

Although the play “Far Away,” written by Caryl Churchill, is somewhat confusing, it is most certainly thought provoking, leaving audience members wanting more.

CSI’s production was directed by Professor Maurya Wickstrom who referred to the play as “haunting, mysterious, ambiguous” and “hard to understand” for one has to “think about it a lot.” “Far Away” has been interpreted into many different conclusions by viewers as they try to understand its deep concepts.

“Far Away” was written by the renowned British playwright, Caryl Churchill. It is set in a society where everything in nature is currently at war. Fellow humans, and even the smallest of animals, cannot be trusted. Professor Wickstrom goes into the depth of conflict within our own society by presenting that on stage.

The plot begins and ends with scenes created by Wickstrom, a protesting ensemble. The scenes portray the uniting of victims (from various points in time) to fight against the horrifying conditions of the world, embodying a sense of: when we fall, we shall rise again.

From beginning to end, it depicts a world of hell and horror, where violence is rampantly spread in the society and all over the world. Wickstrom’s additions highlight the themes of terror, war, dictatorship and disillusionment that are present in the original material.

Act one revolves around a discussion about what a young girl, Joan, has previously witnessed in her guardian’s home. She is silenced and made to believe that she is wrong about what she thinks she saw. Eventually, she grows up and begins working as a hat-maker in a factory with a man named Todd.

A romance blossoms between the two as they talk and create hats. The whimsical hats they make, are to be worn by brutalized POW’s during the parade. In the end, the brutality of this world cannot be masked by colorful hats. The entire world, and all its species, are fighting against one another, to the point where one must question which side the river itself is on.

The play is surreal. It is wrapped in a series of events that can be difficult to comprehend. Yet, the theme of “empowerment” could be extracted from it. The play signifies the power to fight and go against officials and situations that are not in favor of the citizens.

The music and sound design, coordinated by AJ Parascandola, resonated perfectly to suit the tone of every act. All members of the cast gave their best performances. It made the audience feel as if it was all actually happening in real life. Harper, played by Alecia Clark, a Dramatic Arts and English Writing sophomore, had a real impact on the play. Her twitches and yells pushed the audience to pay close attention.
“Far Away” reminds us that we are living in a world where there is terror and pain. Thus, the only way to have the opposite effect is to fight back and let our voices be heard. When we fall, we have and will always, rise again.

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