BWW Review: Human Relationships Go Bite-Sized (or Is It Byte-Sized) in LOVE AND INFORMATION, at Theatre Vertigo
If you were to google "information about love," randomly click on 57 of the results, and then skim each page starting in the middle, you'd experience the digital equivalent of watching Caryl Churchill's LOVE AND INFORMATION, currently playing at Theatre Vertigo.
(I did this. Once I got past all of the results related to the play, I found some pretty interesting stuff -- a blog post on misconceptions about love, a reddit thread about the Jeremy Runnels case, an ad for a couples counseling game, and census information from Love County, OK. None of these things are actually in the play, but they could be.)
LOVE AND INFORMATION is a collection of 57 short vignettes -- some about love and relationships, some about data and information, and some about totally random things, like watching snails.
The play is only about 90 minutes, so the sketches last from just a few seconds to a couple of minutes max. Many of them are about how our hearts and minds inform -- and often conflict with -- one another. For example, in the opening sketch, someone has a secret he doesn't want to tell. When he reveals it, it changes the dynamic between him and a potential love interest. In another, a man deals with knowing that his wife is unfaithful. In my favorite piece, two women reflect on a love they shared a long time ago, only to find that they don't have the same memories of their time together.
With 57 scenes in 90 minutes, you can imagine that the pace is pretty driving. Sometimes this is very welcome -- you don't have time for your mind to wander. Sometimes it's frustrating -- you want to stay in a specific moment a little bit longer. The experience mirrors well how we interact with content today -- mostly skimming the headlines, occasionally reading a sentence or two, hardly ever sticking around for the whole story. I think it illustrates well how fragmented our understanding of people and events can become when we pay attention for only 30 seconds before hustling off to the next new and exciting thing.
With a cast of 12 playing over 100 characters in little snippets at a time, it's hard to even assess the acting. However, the Theatre Vertigo company is solid, and most of them are in this play. One individual performer who stood out was R. David Wylie. Mr. Wylie has grown on me over the past two seasons, and I really loved his portrayal of the chicken memory researcher -- I've known people like that.
LOVE AND INFORMATION runs through May 7. Info and tickets here: http://www.theatrevertigo.org/season.html
Photo credit: Gary Norman