The radio awakens you with the daily weather report, you read the morning paper while you have your coffee, and the RSS on your smart phone provides breaking news immediately. You need to know what’s happening; we all do. In her new play, playwright Caryl Churchill tackles the notions of information and love. Staged at the Minetta Lane Theatre, Love and Information will either intrigue and delight you or numb and daze you. There may be no middle ground.
In the space of two hours with no intermission, 15 versatile actors, spanning all ages and races, present 57 skits. The majority of the scenes feature pairs of performers and the props and staging are minimal (a chair, a tent, etc.). The skits seem grouped together around different themes. There is the need to know - even things that may ultimately make us unhappy. (A young man badgers his girlfriend into sharing a secret but looks distressed when he learns the truth.) There are times there might be too much information. (A boy is told that his ‘sister’ is really his mother.) There’s frustration in not being connected and having access to information. (A woman away in a secluded restful area with her lover feels the loss of the use of her phone, computer and radio.) There’s the annoyance at miscommunication and the pains and fragility of memories -lost and forgotten. (A talented musician says he can’t play the piano and then sits down to accompany a singer. After the song, he looks up in confusion, asking who the singer is.)
Fast-paced skits are a creative artistic device. For more than 40 years, public television has produced shows like Sesame Street to appeal to toddlers’ limited attention spans. However, playwright Churchill’s quick pacing may not be as successful for some of the adult audience. Some dozed intermittently while a few others left before the show was over. To be honest, a few of the skits left me shaking my head in bewilderment, but before I could ponder and process what I had watched, the scene ended and another skit began.
The majority of the audience at the Minetta Lane Theatre, however, followed the show with rapt attention. Love and Information is a play that creates dialogue. Even if you don’t like it or only like some of the segments, there’s certainly much to discuss. Of course, that may only create more information.