Distance Remaining – Online
“If I stop moving, I stop breathing. Please don’t let me go.” Distance Remaining is an intimate, sometimes painful story of three people navigating the world of April 2020. Jess (Dolina MacLennan) is trying to get in touch with Zak, her grandson who just got out of prison, but she’s suffered a fall and can’t get off the ground. Lindsay (Karen Dunbar) is trying to do her bit as a mutual aid volunteer, delivering food packages to people in isolation while trying to push her own loneliness and panic away. Cam (Reuben Joseph) is a self-proclaimed failure trying to find the family dog on an isolated beach.
Through sharp, descriptive dialogue, innovative camerawork and a sad but uplifting original musical score, the audience is given unique access to these characters’ lives. The close-up angles create a sense of intimacy. At one point, the camera circles Cam from above as he opens up about the confusion and fear he suffered as a child, creating a sense of disorientation to match the script. There are several shots of Jess’s house from above, showing the grid plan of her home, almost like a dollhouse, to emphasise the feeling of being trapped. Tight shots of faces, furniture and landscapes have a sharp, jolting impact.
All three performances are very well executed and convey real, raw emotion. While the three characters engage with the outside world, one only sees them (and occasionally hears a dog or a creepy, child-like Siri voice) and their point of view. Dunbar does a great job, conveying a range of feelings in an authentic way, while MacLennan brings some excellent physical acting and plays her part perfectly. Joseph has some of the strongest lines of this show and encourages empathy from the audience.
Stewart Melton’s script is deep without being pretentious, and detailed without being too wordy. It is full of harsh imagery, which furthers the underlying sense of panic in each of these stories. This is a clever, sometimes harrowing portrayal of isolation, hope and human resilience, both in the face of personal circumstances and in the wider context of Covid-19 in the early days of lockdown. It isn’t necessarily easy watching, but it does leave viewers with a curious sense of optimism that even when one has fallen down, or hit a new low, it’s possible to keep going.
Photos: Seth Hardwick
Distance Remaining is available to live stream from 14th April until 8th May 2021. For further information or to book visit here.