Apt613 is trying to see every show on opening weekend of the 2017 Ottawa Fringe Festival. Read more reviews at apt613.ca/fringe.
Love and Information
by Caryl Churchill
Third Wall Academy
45 min / Comedy, Clown / Mature
I was really impressed TWA’s (Third Wall Academy) production of Fugee – which was awarded a Capital Critics’ Special Jury Prize last year – so I was curious to see what they would do at Fringe this time around with revolutionary British playwright Caryl Churchill’s 2012 play Love and Information.
An exploration of human connectedness and the influences of technology, the script contains few stage directions, no restrictions with regards to how to order the scenes/vignettes, and over 100 characters can be played by any number of actors. In many ways, this makes the script ideal for a large cast of teen actors, but it also presents a lot of challenges, particularly in a sparse Fringe setting.
This is a tricky script. The scenes are short and punchy. In this production directed by James Richardson, the vignettes are punctuated by loud music and lots of movement from one side of the stage to the other: the young actors are solid in their choreography, focused and professional. The whole team works very well together.
Still, I found the whole experience rather alienating (not just because it’s a play about technology…), and I got the sense that this is not a script that showcases actors – it is a director’s play, or a designer’s play. And a high-budget one, at that. I could see it working more effectively with a really kick-ass lighting design, maybe including interactions with live video technology. But as a stand-alone script, despite the production’s inventive and varied staging, it just kind of looks like actors ‘doing things’ very efficiently, albeit without a clear meaning or purpose.
Love and Information by Caryl Churchill is playing at Studio 311 (135 Séraphin-Marion) until Sunday June 18, 2017. Tickets cost $12 online and at the door. Visit ottawafringe.com for the show schedule and box office info.