Performed in the intimate space of Studio 320, Far Away / Not Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen is a chilling double feature that leaves the audience asking questions about their own position in society.
Caryl Churchill’s beautiful writing comes to life as the audience is invited to reconsider their own motives behind everyday actions.
The story of a young girl growing up in a violent world where even the elephants and the weather are involved in war, Far Away examines “truth” and our relation to it. It asks us how far we are willing to go in this pursuit of truth.
As the play indicates, we often believe in what we are told because it is easier and safer than questioning these viewpoints.
Divided into three parts, Far Away provides fascinating insights into human nature, but the transitions between scenes are often not as smooth as they could be.
In a particular scene in the second part, there is a lengthy silence intended to convey conflict in a relationship; this could have been demonstrated more poignantly without the uncomfortable silence.
Not Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen was originally written in 1971, but it easily holds up in our modern world.
Exploring environmental issues and the dangers of selfishness and fear, Churchill’s astute understanding of human distraction is depicted within her play.
Using simple sets that include just a couple chairs or a table, this double feature is supplemented by the additions of both music and smoke. Far Away also makes use of a screen on the back wall at one point to show a short video sequence that contributes to the disturbing ideas presented.
The acting is exquisite for both of these performances and, in particular, Brenda McLean demonstrates her skills as she literally gasps for air throughout the show.
Published in Volume 64, Number 17 of The Uniter (January 28, 2010)