The Faraway Nearby


59 pages
ISBN 0-921368-56-9
DDC C812'.54




Reviewed by Valerie Senyk

Valerie Senyk is Director of Theatre Arts, Thorneloe College, Laurentian


This two-character play evokes the mind, spirit, and work of legendary
artist Georgia O’Keeffe.

Set in O’Keeffe’s final years, the play is divided into three
parts. In the first, the artist delivers a monologue in which she speaks
to imagined individuals. “The human face,” she challenges

a photographer, “is always more a mask than meaning.”

As the play unfolds, O’Keeffe’s intelligence and sensibility are
revealed, but the mask stays firmly in place. She is given a voice that
reflects her paintings—cryptic and poetic, quixotic and wild.
Sometimes we hear a straight-talking, sharp-shooting Georgia, whose
voice lends the play its humor.

The play’s second character is Juan Hamilton, an artist who lived
with O’Keeffe before her death. Murrell uses speculations that the two
were lovers to create snappy and riveting dialogue. Yet Hamilton is
strangely dissatisfying as a character, perhaps because he is not
introduced until Part Two.

By the end, many questions about O’Keeffe are still unanswered. What
we are left with is a sense of mystery and beauty—and wanting more.


Murrell, John., “The Faraway Nearby,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,