To celebrate the 70th birthday of Caryl Churchill and in recognition of her long and successful collaboration with the Royal Court Theatre, ten playwrights have beed asked to choose their favorite piece of Caryl Churchill work for a unique rehearsed readings session in 28 September 2008.
Among these 10 plays was a piece called “Far Away”, which was directed by Martin Crimp. The characters were read as follows: Todd (Benedict Cumberbatch), Harper (Deborah Findley) and Joan (Hattie Morahan).
Joan is visiting her aunt Harper, but can not fall asleep, and begins to ask her questions about some weird things that happen during the night in and around the home of Harper. For instance, Joan has seen how her uncle loads children and other people in a truck in the middle of the night. After several attempts, Harper finally told her that her uncle helps these people to get to a safe place, and that he and Harper are on the good site.
15 years later. Joan now works in a factory along with friend and colleague Todd Milliner as a hat maker. They are customising hats for an upcoming parade, and discussing different styles and genres during their work days. Todd also addresses the issues of salaries and corruption of the management in their factory, and Joan encourages Todd to talk to their boss about these topics, which he then does.
Todd tells Joan about his conversation with their boss, and that he only said that he would be “thinking” about these things. From this conversation, Joan suspects that the whole industry is corrupt, and draws the conclusion that if Todd is fired, she will also resign.
Some years later. Harper and Todd are in Harper’s house and waiting for Joan (now married to Todd) to return. They discuss the paranoia that is based on ignorance about which ‘side’ different aspects of the nature are on. Joan returns in a torn condition and gives a monologue about her fear of any natural thing on her journey (horses, steam, light, darkness, etc.), because she does not know which side of the war they are on.