Love and Information

Caryl Churchill's latest explores humanity in the midst of technological inundation

Social Networking

Love and Information

Mary Moody Northen Theatre at St. Edward’s University
Through Oct. 5.
Running Time: 1 hr., 30 min.

Jeopardy-style clues loop on four large screens around the upper perimeter of the Mary Moody Northen Theatre. From the base of their platforms hang strings of oversized 1s and 0s. The stage has certainly been set for the "Information" side of famed playwright Caryl Churchill's recent work, currently receiving its regional premiere courtesy of St. Edward's University. But what about love?

That's precisely the question Churchill investigates in the over 50 scenes that comprise her rapid-fire play, which features over one hundred characters portrayed by 14 actors in director David Long's staging for MMNT. Now, 50 scenes may seem like a lot; but they pass by at such an extreme tempo that it's hard to believe 90 minutes have elapsed when the curtain call comes around. As a prime example of the writing dictum "content determines form," the structure and pace of Love and Information bring to consciousness the fleetingness of life's moments as magnified all the more by technology and our "need to know." What about love, for instance, when your partner feels compelled to jump out of bed in the middle of the night to check Facebook, or you aren't able to lead a private home life with the paparazzi banging at your door?

These are just two scenarios Churchill chooses to explore in what might at first appear a disconnected mishmash of encounters. But disconnectedness itself quickly emerges as the central theme at hand. Even when one pieces together what might be considered a through-line of characters portrayed by Equity guest artists Janelle Buchanan and Rick Roemer, emotional distance remains the cornerstone of their relationship. One gets the idea that Churchill might be suggesting, "Life is fleeting. Relationships are frail enough entities without the disconnectedness and distraction that technology promotes."

But technology is not entirely vilified in Love and Information. For instance, there's a scene where home movies of weddings are shown, with commentary from one character that the existence of technology allows for us to remember events we might otherwise forget. Of course, this leads the observer to the question of whether we've become so dependent on technology that our own internal processing for memory has begun to deteriorate.

At the end of the night, there are more questions than answers from Caryl Churchill and the amazingly stamina-filled company of actors and technicians who bring her scenes to life. But since then, I haven't been able to stop noticing a few more details in my surroundings. Amidst all the information with which we are surrounded in every minute of every day, I've been reminded that we mustn't forget to love life in the present tense.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More David Long
Feeding the Film
Feeding the Film
Sixteen-hour days, hundreds of hungry crew members, remote locations, tight facilities, and tough competition: Two local caterers tell all

Mick Vann, Aug. 6, 2004

More Arts Reviews
Dance Repertory Theatre's <i>Fortitude</i>
Dance Repertory Theatre's Fortitude
In this spring concert, a profound and moving tribute to a missing member of the Theatre & Dance Department community

Robert Faires, March 22, 2019

"Stella Alesi: Journeying" at Prizer Arts & Letters
The artist extends her protean skills toward the bold and minimal

Wayne Alan Brenner, March 22, 2019

More by Adam Roberts
<i>When the Rain Stops Falling</i>
When the Rain Stops Falling
Strong writing and a robust cast make Different Stages' production stay with you

July 10, 2015

<i>The Sorcerer</i>
The Sorcerer
The Gilbert & Sullivan Society's latest show may be lesser known, but it still prompts plenty of smiles

June 26, 2015

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

St. Ed's, David Long, Caryl Churchill, Janelle Buchanan, Rick Roemer

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle