By: Sandi Durell
It’s amazing what can take place in a large white graph-like 5 sided box (design by Miriam Buether)!
For the first hour you’re caught up in the unique story-telling of British playwright Caryl Churchill (Top Girls), deftly directed by James Macdonald, as she imparts no less than 57 short (and some are 2 seconds) unrelated scene-lets that are perfect for the more recent ADD diagnosed. There are 15 actors, all quite competent, who do her bidding as faster than lightening blackouts occur, followed by short musical interludes (Christopher Shutt) that foretell what may happen next.
How do we give and get information? How do we give and get love? All the questions and answers that are attempted to play out in this 2 hour intermission-less play, part of the NY Theatre Workshop, currently at the Minetta Lane Theatre. “Love and Information” made it’s debut at the Royal Court Theater in London in 2012.
There’s lots of wine drinkers in all the little vignettes and sometimes nary a word is spoken – well, maybe one or two – to get a message across. A couple having a picnic sit on a blanket getting to know each other; she explaining her job, he questioning – she has a most unusual job cutting off birds’ heads and looking at their brains under a microscope – peck, peck, peck; whoops, end of that relationship! Two teenage girls are hysterical fighting over something about the celebrity they’re looking at in a magazine; and sometimes people are just silent – a different kind of information imparted; an elderly couple lay in an upright bed, he nearly asleep, she unable to sleep “think I’ll get up and go on Facebook!”
A woman in a doctor/patient situation asks “How long have I got?”
Secrets are told or not, discussions ensue about war and God, infidelity; relationships abound between mothers, daughters, friends, lovers. Yes, it’s a potpourri of life and humanity. But after the unique flavor wears off, you can’t help but wonder why Churchill didn’t elaborate and elongate certain topics, creating more depth rather than these flash in the pan segments.
As I looked around, I saw people nodding off, giving each other that eye that says “ huh?” and wondering.
Brilliant? Yes! For the average theater-goer? No!
The ensemble of first rate actors includes: Phillip James Brannon, Randy Danson, Susannah Flood, Noah Galvin, Jennifer Ikeda, Karen Kandel, Irene Sofia Lucio, Nate Miller, Kellie Overbey, Adante Power, John Procaccino, Lucas Caleb Rooney, Maria Tucci, James Waterston and Zoe Winters.
“Love and Information” Minetta Lane Theater, 19 Minetta La, Greenwich Village; nytw.org thru March 23rd.
*Photos: Joan Marcus