‘Love and Information’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by March 2, 2016

‘Love and Information’ is a remarkable, dramatic, romantic comedy from British author and playwright, Caryl Churchill. The play was first performed in September 2012, when Caryl was in her early seventies. Inspiration to seniors who think life is over or too difficult. The story has 100 characters, seen to be discovering ‘love’ and ‘information’ through 57 different short cameos, which depict a patchwork of contemporary perceptions, and the necessity for tenderness.

In her youth, Churchill started writing with feminist or Brechtian themes, but in her later years has swung around to the more surreal and ‘open writing’ approach.

This 95-minute collection of vignettes, produced by Theatre Arts at Curtin, can be seen at Hayman Theatre Upstairs, in building 102, Curtin University, Kent Street, Bentley. The parking in Carpark B13 is free after 5.00 pm. The performances are nightly at 7.00 pm until the 5th March at the low-ticket price of $15.

 

The set was designed by Sally Phipps with input from Amy Tamati, and built by the Hayman stalwart, Ian Stewart. Sally has built a low-level stage, with three sides of plain white flats, allowing the audience to spy effectively in private, into the white box. There are three flush, white doors leading into the box. Half a dozen, 60 cms white wooden cubes symbolised such diverse objects as ‘hedgehogs’ and ‘cinema seats’. Dylan Dorotich and Sally Davies managed the stage.

Maddy Mullins conceived the massive selection of costumes. With the show being so fast moving, one wonders how the characters managed to change in time for their next appearance. I suspect that the assistant stage managers (Jack Bengough, Paris Fields, Ellen Parfrey) were also acting as dressers for the cast.

Lighting and projection designer, George Ashforth had a myriad of well thought out lighting combinations. He employed under floor lights and colourful lasers, as well as the normal LEDs. George also provided difficult to obtain videos, and projection slides. Monique Bertolini operated the lighting flawlessly. Ryan Hunt’s audio design was excellent.

 

With 57 different ‘Acts’, some lasting a couple of minutes and others as short as even ten seconds, I will simply list the hard working and impressive actors, who had roughly 10 parts each.

 

Lauren Beeton

Declan Brown

Eloise Carter

Chelsea Gibson

Anna Lindstedt

Holly Mason

Nelson Mondlane

Jess Nyanda Moyle.

 

Director Teresa Izzard and her assistant director Becca Jackson were faced with a cliff face to tackle in presenting this play. The playwright has not created any characters, names and often, even the gender is not mentioned. There are no direction instructions, nor hints on how to approach the extremely varied topics – just dialogue. Subjects like sex – it had to be there – along with torture, children’s problems, marriage and anti-vivisection are all included in the three-score topics. The director had to invent the scenarios and then encourage the cast to add any of their own experiences to the story threads. This major challenge was proficiently conquered with the whole cast giving the numerous characters instant and recognisable personalities.

The show went at a tremendous pace, with only two or three of the stories not working (the writer perhaps being a little too adventurous). A very enjoyable night at the theatre, with something a little offbeat. It is always pleasant to see a team trying something new.