Interview: Emily Chase Talks LOVE AND INFORMATION At Antaeus Theatre Company

Next up at Antaeus Theatre Company, Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information opening March 3, with previews beginning February 26.

By: Feb. 20, 2023

Interview: Emily Chase Talks LOVE AND INFORMATION At Antaeus Theatre Company

Next up at Antaeus Theatre Company, Caryl Churchill's Love and Information opening March 3, 2023 (with previews beginning February 26th). Emily Chase directs the eight-member cast of: - John Apicella, Anne Gee Byrd, Darius De La Cruz, Kwana Martinez, Kevin Matsumoto, Erin Pineda, Lloyd Roberson II and Zoe Yale. Emily was most gracious to give me some behind-the-scenes of Love and Information and some of the rational driving her creative decisions.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Emily!
It is truly my pleasure!

What first attracted you to direct Love and Information?
Casey Stangl, who directed the ACT production, introduced me to the play. I was immediately attracted to its open-endedness, and its almost haiku-like structure, where so much is left unsaid. I was interested in the challenges and possibilities it offers to directors.

What other works of Caryl Churchill are you familiar with?
All of them! Antaeus mounted terrific productions of Cloud 9 and Top Girls. She's a seminal playwright whose works we consider to be "modern classics."

What would your three-line pitch for Love and Information be?
Where does true love lie? How does information interfere with or enhance our existence? Meet over a hundred unique characters engaged in dozens of scenarios where human connection couldn't be more critical.

Interview: Emily Chase Talks LOVE AND INFORMATION At Antaeus Theatre Company Your cast of eight are all Antaeus company members. How did you cast Love and information? Auditions? Or personal calls?
I built the ensemble through auditions, readings, and personal calls.
Our cast is diverse in terms of culture, age, and gender identity. As the director, I wanted the actors to be free to develop their many roles from their own perspectives. So, I did what I call "consensual casting": the actors collaborated in building the world of their characters.

Caryl Churchill originally wrote Love and Information with over a hundred characters? How did you pare down the number of people portrayed and assign them to the eight actors?
Our intimate theater budget allowed no more than eight actors, which is an unusually small cast for this play. But our Antaeus actors are more than up to the challenge! I initially decided to film eight scenes, to give the actors a breather but also to introduce on-screen conversations into this very modern play about the way people communicate. In our post-pandemic world, we absorb so much information through screens - I've taken a highly theatrical approach to explore that.

What aspects of a script attract you to want to direct it?
Churchill wrote Love and Information in 2012, when she was 74 years old and had been writing plays for over 50 years. This one is very different in form from her other experimental work, though: it's a series of conversations between people, none of whom can be the same. In Churchill's prescience, she foresaw the age of TikTok, of rabbit holes on YouTube, of swiping through bits of lives and information.
The characters in the play wrestle with misinformation, but they are still driven by the human passion to connect despite the isolation of information silos. They probe the workings of the brain and the way that memory influences our perceptions of others.
In this production, I've employed projections to reflect how ubiquitous screens have become as a means of social connection over the decade since the play was written. The projections also serve to animate what goes on inside people's brains in these hyper-connected times, as torrents of information pour in.

Interview: Emily Chase Talks LOVE AND INFORMATION At Antaeus Theatre Company When you were growing up, did you want to be an actor? A singer? Director? Or...?
All of the above! I was singing, acting, and directing shows in my living room as a little girl. I was lucky to grow up in Manhattan, where my mom took me to interesting and legendary productions.

What gives you more gratification: receiving audience applause at the curtain call of your acting role? Or watching your directed cast get its due appreciation while offstage? Or seeing the light bulb moment when your student grasps a lesson you've taught?
What a lovely question. I do love seeing my cast get its due appreciation! Whether I'm directing or teaching, I enjoy helping actors bloom and create vital, powerful theater together.

What of the Antaeus Playwright Lab are you most proud of?
I'm most proud of directing the world premiere of Jennifer Maisel's Eight Nights, which she germinated in the Lab. We were nominated for 9 Ovation Awards and won two. It's a profoundly moving play and it was an honor to bring it to life.

Your resume lists eleven accents in your acting arsenal. What was the first accent you mastered and what led to the other ten?
I started doing a popular impression of Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music" in seventh grade - the rest is history!

Interview: Emily Chase Talks LOVE AND INFORMATION At Antaeus Theatre Company What's in the near future for Emily Chase?
I'm developing some new projects and getting ready to send my oldest son to college - bittersweet!

Thank you again, Emily! I look forward to experiencing your Love and Information.
Thank you so much, Gil. I truly appreciated these thoughtful and lovely questions.

For tickets to the live performances of Love and Information through April 3, 2023; click on the button below: