September 22-24, 7:30 p.m.
Loeb Experimental Theater
Directed by Margaret C. Kerr ’13
Produced by Natalie S. Feldman ’12 and Sasha G. Mironov ’13
A theater painted to resemble a crumbling building, in a world in which everything is at war, is the striking underpinning of the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club’s first production of the new school year, “Far Away,” written by Caryl Churchill. In the play’s dystopian vision of the future, everything must take sides, and the word “alliance” doesn’t even exist. Basic elements—earth, wind, and fire—fight amongst each other, violence and murder become the norm, and young hatmaker Joan tries to live a stable life amid the chaos.
Despite the subject matter, Churchill’s script is subtle, dealing with the violence of this ravaged world with a practiced nonchalance. For director Margaret C. Kerr ’13, these circumspect mentions of violence are even more powerful than the physical act. Georgina B. Parfitt ’13, who plays protagonist Joan, found that the understated script leads her character to internalize the violence of the world around her. “I had to … find that tiredness, that exhaustion,” she says. The numbness required is challenging as an actor, since “I’m used to doing things where you show emotion, where you cry a little, you kind of get that shouting wrenching thing,” she says.
The show’s technical aspects don’t echo this passivity; both sound and lighting are constantly changing. “Far Away” begins with the comforting sounds of a homestead. By act three, as the world descends into chaos, and “this sort of foggy, hazy light swallows the actors onstage,” Kerr says. This environment begins to represent the inner turmoil of Churchill’s characters, especially Todd, Joan’s love interest, played by Yi Jun Tan ’13. “Todd is definitely affected by this war effort that [spans] the world and it’s fun to see what you can do with that [as an actor],” says Tan. Kerr expands this sentiment to the whole production: “[‘Far Away’] gives an idea of a future we could be headed towards if cycles of violence … aren’t stopped.”
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