Imagine a show in miniature in which all the conventions are reversed. Backstage is fully on view at the front behind which a story about dealing with grief, bereavement and memories unfolds in projected form.
Something Very Far Away is a thoughtful, highly original wordless piece in which a man, with a passion for astronomy, goes with his beloved wife to a colourful circus as a birthday treat for him. After her death the husband loses himself in his astronomy and experiments, at least in his mind, with space travel.
Tiny stick puppets walk and gesture, convey feelings and respond movingly. We can see them being operated. We can also see them enlarged on screen. Scenery is rolled in front of projectors, tiny moons, planets and spaceships are suspended so that we also see them on screen. When it rains water is poured through a perforated box in front of a screen.
Writer and director Mark Erends plays live guitar through much of this atmospheric piece. Otherwise the sound includes composed music and extracts from Bob Dylan and Edith Piaf as the man in the story looks deep into his telescope, his heart and the past and remembers his wife.
It’s a delightful piece of theatre in which pace is well maintained despite the very short length. The loud cheerful ostentation of the circus is in a very different mood from the main character’s later, sombre attempts to think positively.