Monday, February 18, 2008

Far Away

On Saturday night, we went to see the Caryl Churchill play, Far Away, at Mary Washington’s Klein Theatre. As usual, the college students put on an excellent production. There was only one problem with this performance: the play was incomprehensible. Oh, I get that it’s a nightmarish vision of the apocalypse. I get that it’s all very avant garde, and absurdist, and surreal. I get that it’s supposed to be a chilling look at fear and violence, and I get that it’s supposed to be unsettling and uncomfortable and inaccessible. I just can’t say that I enjoy that kind of theatre. I guess I’m just a traditionalist...I like plot progression, and character development, and a recognizable conflict, and some semblance of a resolution. Far Away was just a bit too abstract for my tastes. And while I appreciate abstract art, I find that often I don't actually enjoy it.

There were two things that the play did have going for it: 1. Hats. An incredible array of outlandish, dramatic, sculptural, fanciful hats. There had to be 50 or 60 of them in this play. Bravo to the hats. I think I would have enjoyed seeing more of the hats, and less of the play. And 2. The play was a mere 50 minutes long. When the actors took their bows, my reaction was, “Huh?” Not that I was sad to see it end, it’s just that there wasn’t even the slightest whiff of a denouement.

Having said all that, if you are a theater buff who loves edgy, modernist, abstract plays, or are an aficionado of hats, give it a whirl. There are performances on Feb. 21, 22 and 23 at 8 pm, and a 2 pm performance on Feb. 24.

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