Quantum Theatre’s “Far Away” is an enigmatic abstraction, grounded by psychologically deep performances.

Quantum Theatre’s streaming production of “Far Away” is an enigmatic abstraction, grounded by psychologically deep performances.

In an unstable landscape of shifting allegiances, just how much faith can we have in own senses, our family members, our co-workers, our own creative impulses, our government, and nature itself?

Known for making theatre happen in unusual spaces, Quantum has mounted a thoughtful, intelligent video production of Caryl Churchill’s absurdist evisceration of trust.

I’m very glad I was streaming, so I could scroll back to make sure I correctly heard one line about cats and the French.

In isolation, the scenes resemble abstract, quirky acting exercises: “You’re visiting your aunt in the country, and you witness something unsettling.” “You’re a dystopian hatmaker, and your conspiracy theorist co-worker has a crush on you.”

At first the scenes seemed linked more by theme and character development than by a conventional plot. Like the hats that feature in the middle section, the scenes are simultaneously specific arrangements of components that our senses can grasp, and also meaning-laden parables to be interpreted.

The performances are rich and complex. A slightly delayed smile that speaks volumes. An open-handed, vulnerable gesture, made by a character whose words are as mendacious as they are sincere. Moments of shyness and affection in bleak settings.

The past year of pandemic-driven uncertainty, divisive political drama, and profound global changes in our society all make Churchill’s play (written in 2000) a perfectly suited opportunity to look into the mirror and assess our own agency and complicity.

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