by Lynn on April 24, 2018

in The Passionate Playgoer

At the Berkeley Street Theatre, Downstairs, Toronto, Ont.

Written by Caryl Churchill

Directed by Tanja Jacobs and Alistair Newton

Set and costumes by Eo Sharp

Lighting by André Du Toit

Sound by Jennifer Gilmor

Cast: Jason Cadieux

Sarah Deller

Peter Fernandes

Maggie Huculak

Sheila Ingabire-Isaro

David Jansen

Reid Millar

Ngozi Paul

A provocative play about love, relationships and the information that glues them together from one of the most inventive playwrights alive today.

The Story. There is no story. The play is composed of a series of topics inside which are short scenes that explore those topics, such as: maths, home, God, memory, manic, grief, mnemonist, linguist etc.

The Production. Eo Sharp has created a revolving cube around and in which the action takes place. The walls are used to suggest a couple in bed as they lean up against it with a sheet partially covering them. Some action takes place atop the cube.

The subject of a scene is projected above the cube and that scene is acted out to illuminate some aspect of the subject. Each scene is not more than a few minutes long, often much shorter but always expressed in Caryl Churchill’s pristine dialogue. Emotions are explored; attitudes are too. Love is often discussed in terms of information that establishes it. Initially characters are asked if they will divulge a piece of secret information. The reply begins the exploration of emotions and why characters do what they do.

Directors Tanja Jacobs and Alistair Newton work in tandem to stage and direct the piece. The pace is as brisk as the revelations of the short scenes. They find the central nugget of each scene and focus on what it says in the context of the scene and the play as a whole. The cast of eight is very strong, compelling and eminently watchable. One does not luck onto a character for any length of time. The character is like a shard of light—brief and quickly noticeable but then it’s gone.

Comment.  Caryl Churchill has made a career of never writing the same kind of play twice. She has written plays that seem to redefine language, (Far Away, Escaped Alone, Blue Heart, The Skriker), that explore feminist issues, (Top Girls) , money (Serious Money), thorny politics (Seven Jewish Children), gender issues and history (Cloud Nine) and on and on. Her sharp gaze illuminates the most complex of subjects.  Love and Information, written in 2012, is no different. An eclectic mix of topics in various scenes with a set order to the topics but not the scenes. She challenges everybody—artists, directors and audience. It’s worth the effort.    

Canadian Stage Presents:

Opened: April 12, 2018.

Closes: Apri.29, 2018.

Running Time: 110 minutes.

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