‘Love and Information’ is avant garde
“Love and Information” is not your typical theater production. The audience picks the order of the 21 different scenes, and in the Seattle Pacific University Theater department’s version of the production, the audience texted in votes for what scene goes first.
Thus, every time the production meets a new audience, the scenes meet a new order.
“Love and Information” was written by Caryl Churchill and first performed at the Royal Court Theater in 2012. The show’s “playlets” — mini scenes that make up the seven different chapters of the show — and themes have been evolving ever since.
The show does not follow a linear plot like so many others. The different playlets each have their own story or hidden meaning to it, and they can be read in a variety of different ways.
Subjects of the playlets — which are also different for every production — range from teen pregnancy, to PTSD, to depression and even teen obsession with a pop-culture icon.
The theme each production explores can vary as well.
The theatre department’s theme is the interaction between humanity and technology, with the actors pulling out their phones often between scenes to explore what technology has done to how humanity connects to the world or the people in and how it gets and receives information, but that is just one interpretation.
With every production of “Love and Information,” wherever you see it, one thing remains consistent: it explores the interaction between whatever can be interpreted as love and whatever can be interpreted as information.
With only 10 actors and 100 different characters, actors will play many different characters, transforming from one person to the next within a matter of minutes.
The show itself is a feat to marvel at.
That said, an atypical production only appeals to an atypical crowd.
As interesting of an experience that it was, there was no time to process what the scene right before was trying to explore. Though it is clear that the meaning of scenes is supposed to be ambiguous, it gets to a point where the obscurity loses its charm.
Given the variety of characters the actors had to juggle, the acting was impressive, though the fake makeout which could have also been interpreted as a sex scene —the lack of actual kissing made it unclear — was slightly awkward on an SPU stage.
The nature of the production causes it to be confusing and slightly unapproachable. It feels as though everything is shrouded in a little bit of mystery, which can be a good or bad thing.
Unless you are a theater major or a junky for avant-garde theater, the SPU Theater Department’s “Love and Information” might not be the production for you.
Yet because every production is different every time, how one encounters it may be completely different then how another would.
The only way to know is to go see it for yourself.
Performances of Love and Information will continue on Nov. 15-17 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee performance on Nov. 17 at 1:00 p.m.