TWA brings Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information to the Ottawa Fringe this year. It’s a little headier than your average Fringe show, but I encourage you to check out this production of a modern classic, performed by a promising group of young performers.
Love and Information is not a play; it’s more like fifty plays exploding all at once, like kernels in a popcorn machine. Each scene examines a different relationship between the two basic concepts of love and information: how new information can change your perception of someone you love, but also how love itself is generated by neurons transmitting signals to and from the brain (love is information). Every scene is a turning point, but each seems to have been plucked from its own storyline and stands on its own within this anthology. Ultimately Love and Information explores the intertwined nature of what we feel and what we know, with a special focus on how we communicate those thoughts and feelings to others.
The firm grasp on the material by a cast of ten high-school-aged performers would have been impressive for a show with a less complex text; their handling of this text in all its post-dramatic glory is marvellous. One particularly strong moment is a very quick transition between two longer scenes, where one of the young men walks into a spotlight and stands silently for a beat or two, allowing the intensity of his defiant facial expression to carry information that the audience will interpret according to their own devices – facial expressions are hardly an infallible communication method, but they are one just the same. Director James Richardson has done an excellent job with choreographing the flow of scenes (Churchill’s text can be rearranged in whatever order the director sees fit) as well as drilling the material into these promising up-and-comers.
It’s a little unusual for a company to produce an established text at Fringe – Love and Information was first produced in London in 2011 – but this production, to the best of my knowledge, is the first time it has been produced in Ottawa, and the density of the material makes it a daunting prospect for a director, so it may be some time before another Ottawa production of this show occurs. Though I knew that their much-lauded production of Abi Morgan’s FUGEE at last year’s Fringe was also based on a pre-established script, I still had apprehensions going into my first TWA show, which I can now say were unfounded.
Love and Information combines a smart, contemporary text with solid direction and inspired performances by actors starting their careers off on the right foot. Give your head (and legs) a challenge by climbing the stairs to Studio 311, to check out this unexpected gem.
Love and Information
A Third Wall Academy production
Written by Caryl Churchill
Directed by James Richardson
Performed by Connor Adsett, Jeff Clement, Ingela C. Fagervik, Caitlin Feeley, Katarina Fiallos, Priyanka Gopalkista, Kosta Max Lemermeyer, Ioana Negura, Rosa Olberg, Allegra Peterson
At Studio 311 (BYOV B)
Running Time: 60 minutes
Wednesday 14 June 7:00pm
Thursday 15 June 9:00pm
Friday 16 June 6:00pm
Saturday 17 June 7:30pm
Sunday 18 June 5:00pm