far away

Theater review: ‘Far Away’ and close to home

Shaking The Tree takes Caryl Churchill's End Times political fantasy for a spin

The cast of Shaking the Tree’s “Far Away”: (l to r) Patricia Hunter, Annabel Cantor, Beth Thompson, John San Nicolas./Sheri Earnhart

The shrieking had awakened Joan. An owl, Aunt Harper offers. No, she’s seen people. A party, Harper offers. Then why was Uncle bundling children into the shed? And hitting them with a metal stick? And what about the blood?

Uncle only hit the traitors, Harper offers, finally.

Caryl Churchill’s “Far Away” is THAT sort of play, a Caryl Churchill play, a fable with political implications along with the psychological. Its episodes start off in the ordinary world, with Harper writing a note and drinking her tea in a cozy little nook at home, say, and then start describing a world outside that is fantastic and horrible. And then we in the audience start assembling those stories in our own minds. We puzzle over the descriptions we’ve received, piece them together and recoil from them once it all starts to sink in.

Maybe we also laugh, I did during Shaking The Tree’s production on Saturday night, maybe a little nervously, because everything sounded so crazy.


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