Caryl Churchill’s play Love and Information begins with a secret.
Love to know the Information whispered but judging from the reaction from the recipient it was remarkable. And remarkable is an apt description of this play and this production of it.
Eight actors playing a myriad of different characters in a series of scenes, some microscopic, one silent as semaphore (literally), some the equivalent of a theatrical sound bite, most are tete a tetes.
Love and Information is a non-linear narrative, a collage rather than a mosaic, a variety of vignettes and sketches in random formation. An avalanche of cliché, a tsunami of mundanity, a bombardment of banality would ordinarily cripple a show, but as presented here it’s illustrative of the minutiae of our lives, and of the information overload we are subjected to. What informs us to be who we are, how we interact, is the through line of the play. The morsels, the fragments, the small talk, all part of the bigger picture.
Are we merely information? Can a man fall in love with a computer, as one of the characters confesses? Have we surrendered the real for the virtual?
The brain gets a good working in this play. There’s banter about bird brains, delivered with delicious comic prattle by Anita Hegh in an incarnation of a fowl anatomist chewing the fat over finger food.
The mysteries of the human brain are given poignant examination in Marco Chiappi’s portrayal of a pianist whose amnesia vanishes when playing piano.
And the human heart, the emotional centre not the anatomical organ, gets a thorough workout through heartbreak and humour from Ursula Yovich, Glenn Hazeldine, Alison Whyte, Harry Greenwood, Zahra Newman and Anthony Taufa.
Kip Williams directs with dexterity and discipline teasing the most from the text and mastering the mechanics of traffic control, drilling his energetic ensemble in a seamless and speedy choreography of set change. The synergy and synchronicity is a performance in itself.
David Fleisher’s design is a white box containing a number of white boxes or plinths that can be moved about the stage and configured into various shapes, from large formations like swimming pools and museum exhibits to intimate spaces like a bed or a restaurant table.
Paul Jackson’s lighting design mainly of hues of blue and shades of grey give emphatic dramatic effect, ranging from the ethereal and subtle to the stark and strobing and facilitates the fluidity of the piece.
Imaginative and engaging, Love and Information is a theatrical treat.
A Sydney Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre production
LOVE AND INFORMATION
by Caryl Churchill
Director Kip Williams
Venue: Wharf 1, Sydney Theatre Company | Pier 4/5 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
Dates: 9 July – 15 August 2015
Tickets: from $40
Bookings: 02 9250 1777 | sydneytheatre.com.au