Here’s something I’ve learned about myself after watching years and years of theatre: I need narrative. I crave it. That doesn’t mean it needs to be a linear narrative (LOST anyone?). But if anything, I need to be able to make connections within the piece, whether it’s through plot points, characters, clues, something more specific than thematic. It’s how I personally connect and relate. That’s what gives a story purpose for me.
Love and Information is Caryl Churchill’s new play currently being produced by New York Theatre Workshop and performed at Minetta Lane Theatre. It’s just under two hours and a collection of vignettes – moving, hilarious, and thought-provoking. Each “scene” ranges from a few minutes to a few seconds – a full conversation or perhaps a single phrase, and then it’s gone in the blink of an eye as the set swiftly changes to the next set of circumstances. These pieces are lovely to say the least – beautifully entertaining, some very funny, others heartbreaking. Plus the fantastic design (lights, set, and sound) only adds to the setting. With this style of theatre, you as an audience member have to constantly adapt to new situations and figure out what’s going on. I like having to work in that way. But then, that was it. After 45 minutes, I started to check out once I realized there wasn’t going to be a “story” in the typical sense. Not that I didn’t enjoy the rest of the scenes! If the second half had happened first, I would have appreciated those just as much. It was simply the nature of the piece as a whole that I had difficulty with. It’s hard for me to stay engaged that long to watch brief moments in time. Others may not need the narrative as much as I do. The themes and issues brought up from scene to scene may be enough to get their gears turning.
I do think it’s exciting to note that the script itself is pretty much bare-bones, not specifying place, gender, character, situation, etc. From basic dialogue on a page, the ensemble created this piece and all of the beautiful details. I love when theatre does that. I simply left craving a greater common denominator linking these vignettes other than topics of “love” and “information.”
Love and Information
Written by Caryl Churchill, Directed by James Macdonald
Minetta Lane Theatre, closing April 6th
Photo Credit: Sara Krulwich
Pictured:Noah Galvin and Adante Power