I really liked Far Away with my first read through of the play. The strangeness of it (“My degree hat was a giraffe six feet tall” pg 17), the hints of something sinister (the people in the shed), the randomness (“I’m getting a room in a subway” pg 19), and the implicit suggestions of the way real world politics always ends up pitting one group against another, all these things added to my enjoyment of reading Far Away. Now, when I say I enjoyed Far Away, I use the word “enjoyed” in a way that also implies admiration. The enjoyment, and/or admiration, is in the creative way Churchill represents, what I took as, the power of indoctrination in societies that mask it so well. The opening scene is a great example of this. Joan witnesses, what comes across to the reader as, horrible acts, only to have the things she saw explained away as actions being done in the name of good. It is put into words rather well in Alisa Solomon’s review of the New York Theatre Workshop’s production of the play:
“The stunning revelation of this scene is not that some vague political violence is raging in the woods, but that Joan’s will to question is so thoroughly quelled. So much so that when the action leaps forward a couple of decades into the next set of scenes, the adult Joan (Marin Ireland) does not even notice how her rebellious spirit has been contained within dominant values.”
Churchill boiled down justification of one-sided wrongdoings, or at least what feels like wrongdoings in this play, in a matter of a scene. It’s happened throughout history – give thought to the goals of “civilizing” those lands full of “barbarians” or “savages” by those imperialistic nations – and here Churchill gives us an interesting, fictional example of it.
If I had the chance, I’d definitely go see this play. Looking up videos on youtube provided some interesting results. The one that I think represented the feel of the play most of all, though, was this Far Away Trailer
Churchill, Caryl. Far Away. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 2001. Print.
Far Away Trailer. YouTube. YouTube, 5 Mar. 2010. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhahBLH5KZI>.
Solomon, Alisa. “When We Dread Awaken.” Rev. of Far Away. 1-2. Village Voice. Village Voice, 12 Nov. 2002. Web. 28 Feb. 2012.