Gazing at a Distant Star

Gazing at a Distant Star follows three lives individually dealing with their own losses. First we are introduced to the boisterous but relatable everyman, Arun, working in a call centre to raise enough money for university. We also meet Anna who is training for a 5k run, and Karen who is trying to continue with her life after her son flies the nest. This cast of three deliver impassioned storytelling that guides us through their individual stories of loss as well as working in ensemble to provide diverse secondary characters.

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.

Reviews by Katie Daniel

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The Blurb

Arun saves for university. Anna trains for a dreaded 5k run. Karen searches for her missing son. In Siân Rowland's acclaimed play about those who go missing and those who are left behind, three lives intersect, three people struggle to cope with loss, to reach out and find the light beyond. Rowland was shortlisted for the 2016 RED Women's Theatre Awards. 'Rowland's writing is the dark star in this new play: her wit twinkles and slices in equal measure' **** ( 'Immensely haunting... captivating performances' **** ( 'Sparkles with authenticity and humour' ***** (