In Caryl Churchill’s play Far Away, we are shown the absolute extreme of what happens when corruption takes over the world. There is a building of the theme of corruption through the text. It starts first with the moral corruption of an adult, a trusted family member, lying to a young girl. Not only is she lying, but she is lying about horrible violent atrocities that are happening right outside the window from where the girl sleeps. This is a fairly extreme situation, but it is on a very small level because it is only happening between two people.
This builds from the moral corruption of one person, to the broader social sphere of the corruption of the company that Joan later works for. Her and Todd want to leave this company, “we could expose the corrupt financial basis of how the whole hat industry is run, not just this place, I bet the whole industry is dodgy” (Churchill, 26). We do not know what happens to them or what happens with the company, but we see the sense of corruption growing.
By the end of the play we see that everything in the world has become corrupted. “I’ve shot cattle and children in Ethiopia. I’ve gassed mixed troops of Spanish, computer programmers and dogs” (34). It is disconcerting to list types of people so specifically, from age range, to occupation, to nationality. What is most striking about the final scene is not the corruption of people, because that we can understand, it is the corruption of things and animals. We do not think of animals as being corruptible, that is something that we think of as a shortcoming of our humanity. However, in this world everything that can be touched can also be corrupted.
This play is surreal, it is dystopian, and it has a little absurdist thrown in too, but it still has a lot to say about our reality. For as ridiculous and farfetched as the play is, we are not so far off. As it is today we are destroying our world. We may not have gotten plants and animals to fight wars for us, but we are using up the earth and its resources for our own gain. We are using it and we are destroying it. We are the war machine and the earth is defenseless town that every one of our bombs hits. The more corrupt we become, the more we corrupt our entire world.
(Here is a quick link to an article on this play that I really liked. It also makes comparisons too out last class text Homebody/Kabul I didn’t cite it but just wanted to share it. www.villagevoice.com/2002-11-12/theater/when-we-dread-awaken/2/)
Churchill, Caryl. Far Away. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 2001. Print.