Caryl Churchill's Love and Information: a 10 bullet-points review


1.) Picture a stage converted into a white cube where multiple brief scenes occur: the theatrically appropriate physical form to capture a digital world;

2.) then throw in sounds, bits of music, birds, maybe gulls, and these punctuate the black-outs between scenes--distracting the audience from quick prop and costume changes; all very electronic, all very now;

3.) "tell me a big secret" one character asks, but all of the play is big and small secrets, some of which one might rather not have learned; but that's our present day world of "information";

4.) and our present day world of "Love" can be surprising too: "Mum's not your mother". Really? No, your sister is.

5.) So many scenes, so many characters, all so brief, and yet on the mark and touching, even, but ultimately like television sound bites or 30 second ads--they give you a rush, but like a sugar high, it doesn't last.

6.) Churchill is on to the present moment, no question, and the sense that life is in a rush, that all our techno toys have speeded everything up, and it's both funny and sad, pointed and peripheral. 100 e-mails, a thousand: does one care? And what about tweets?

7.) We take this roller-coaster play ride, sit on the edges of our seats and are engaged and amused, moment to moment, but finally, a little exhausted after two straight hours, we climb out of the car and back into our lives, and what have we learned?

8.) That people still need other people--although one jolly fellow is so damned blissed out by his virtual girlfriend that he assures another woman, "it's great," in fact it is the best sex he's ever had. And can one really argue with this?

9.) The acting is skilled, the production smooth and witty, the kaleidoscope effective, but this play seems to be more about information than love, more an imitation of the new realities than an insight into their meaning.

10.) Ultimately Churchill proves bright but not brilliant here. Love and Information lacks her usual depth of vision--although it is certainly still worth seeing. 

Love and Information is a New York Theatre Workshop production, directed by James Macdonald, at the Minetta Lane Theatre, playing through April 6, 2014.