By Danielle Danaher, Second Year French and Spanish
Chaotic, overwhelming and spectacular: Three words that spring to mind as the first scene of Love and Information by Caryl Churchill unfolds.
Four pairs of actors storm through the audience, position themselves sporadically around each room of the venue and simultaneously act out a scene in which a couple fight over an undisclosed secret.
Love and Information takes us through a kaleidoscope of fast-moving micro-dramas in which over a hundred characters try to navigate love, memories and life as we know it.
Set in the underworld of the eerie tunnels of Loco Klub, this production is an immersive theatre experience unlike any other.
Transforming the traditional play format, Directors Benjamin Oliveira and Hen Ryan, along with designer Violet Allmark, deserve credit for their artistic vision.
Without the aid of stage directions or fixed scenes, the team manages to execute this interactive and immersive performance where the audience becomes part of the action, and the actors become part of the audience.
Upon arrival, we were encouraged to walk around the three cave-like tunnels of the venue, and get as close to the actors as we liked. It was refreshing to see some audience members on stage with the actors and even inside a tent with one character as they jammed out to imaginary music.
The play takes us on a journey of quick vignettes in an episodic narrative that resembles flicking through channels or even swiping through a dating app. It depicts the difficulty of making true, meaningful connections in a world of technology where we are constantly bombarded by information. It’s intentional that the audience may find themselves overwhelmed or slightly lost as multiple different images and sounds compete for our attention.
The overlapping scenes can be likened to overhearing conversations in public and filling in the gaps to decipher what is really going on in these people’s private lives. This collision of the private and public spheres unfolds within the performance, and the audience are invited to assign their own meaning to each scene.
As the script doesn’t specify any physical attributes of the characters, the cast of 16 talented individuals are given scope and freedom to create their own character from the lines and interpret them however they see fit. It’s evident that each actor is in their element in this play, with standout performances from Ollie Binnie, Brandon Hamilton, Elizabeth Abbot and a captivating rendition of ‘Romeo’ by Basement Jaxx from Maebh Brolly.
In one scene, a character, played by the strikingly charismatic Meabh Brolly, is joined by three others as she reminisces on her wedding video. As the surrounding characters disappear into the audience, Brolly is left frustrated at the gaps in her memory and the fact that she wouldn’t have been able to remember such monumental events without these snapshots, hinting at the fallibility of memory and how technology may come to replace it.
The cast deliver a performance that is both funny and charming, thought-provoking and moving.
This production of Love and Information transcends boundaries between audience and characters as well as defying conventions of traditional theatre.
Featured Image: Courtesy of Danielle Danaher
Did you attend DramSoc's Love and Information? What did you think?