Gazing at a Distant Star is an emotional observation on the issue of grief.
Arun (Harpal Hayer) acts as the glue carrying us through the show and is the link between the three stories. Hayer is a deftly diverse actor showing us distinct variations from stroppy schoolkid to awkward teenager to aggressive and possessive boyfriend. He is very relatable and unassuming as Arun, and gets the audience on side. Ketorah Williams is energetic and engaging as Anna, and Jenny Delisle also delivers an incredible authentic performance as caring but clueless mother Karen, her soliloquy about lacking closure is spine-tingling.
The set design was decidedly simplistic, each set item and prop completely white, showing the blank canvas of these stories and allowing us to focus on the stories we are being told by the three protagonists. This staging enables a versatility of setting as the audience is encouraged to use their imagination. Each change in location is highlighted by the dialogue but also by the clearly limited lighting rig. Often the lighting does not quite hit the mark in highlighting the area of focus or indeed, actually show us the actors with much clarity but this may be a result of being limited by a small, shared lighting rig.
The overall message gathered from Gazing at a Distant Star is that there is a lack of awareness – the three characters experience loss because of issues; alcoholism, emotional abuse and racism – all things that they were unaware to be affecting their loved ones. This fact rubs salt in the wound of their grief. Gazing at a Distant Star is an emotional observation on the issue of grief.