A dystopian world featuring a corrupt government and country in war-torn ruins is not a new concept, but the Theater, Dance and Media department’s production of “Far Away” aims to challenge viewers with its eerily near applicability. Based on the 2000 play by Caryl Churchill, the play revolves around a woman named Joan whose accidental discovery changes her conception of the world. “Far Away” will appear in Farkas Hall as a minimalistic drama that features only three actors.
Connor Doyle ’19, who plays main character Todd, emphasized the contemporary relevance of the play. “The show’s got a really important message that I think people need to hear today,” he said. “The future this play talks about is—I think this is part of the point—not so far away. It’s really close to home.”
Visiting professional director Annie Tippe agreed. “I want people to think about the way that art and politics interact with each other in a fresh way. And I want the audience to feel surprised by their own reactions to the play and to question their notions about how art interacts with everyday life,” she said.
The unique experience of having a professional director and a student cast and crew attracted producer Sam A. Hagen ’18 to the show. “When they asked me to produce the TDM show, I was super down just for the opportunity to collaborate with both students and professionals at the same time,” he said.
This collaboration is also what gives life to the simple script, which both provides room for interpretation and presents challenges. Enosa J. Ogbeide ’20, who plays Joan, remarked that the actors were responsible for effectively conveying the play’s message. “The lines themselves are fairly short, and you’re just not actually given very much,” she said. “I think it’s up to the actors to portray in how they act, given those said lines, the actions they are trying to get at and fill in those gaps for an audience member.”
Tippe’s directing helped them fill in the gaps and also challenged the actors to work together in doing so. Elizabeth B. H. O’Donnell ’17, who plays Harper, described the process as novel. “The amount of work we did as a group—figuring out the gaps and the story we’re telling as a group—was really new to me. Normally that’s the kind of stuff you do alone as an actor,” she said.
“Far Away” will be in Farkas Hall from April 26 to April 30.
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