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CSU Theater’s ‘Love and Information’ is weird, and I like it

“Love and Information” by Caryl Churchill is a play that leaves a lot of room for interpretation. The play opened at Colorado State University’s Theater this weekend. 

“All you get is the pieces, like a jigsaw puzzle,” said Director Laura Jones. “And you have to figure out how it all fits together. It’s very different than anything I’ve ever done because there’s really no plot.”

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From the moment the audience enters the theatre, they are met with this dark purple light, evoking a mysterious feeling. 

It’s the kind of show that one second you think you understand and the next you just have to go “what is this?” Every scene is different from the last, except for the common string that keeps all parts together: a scene called “Depression” that features one character with this digital projection of blue and their journey.

Four people lit on the stage as a projection of two eyes is behind them
Performers in one scene where a scary story is being told. (Photo courtesy Colorado State University Flickr)

While it is uninterrupted by an intermission the whole show is interruptive of itself. Each scene varies in length but between each one there is a blackout and a quick shuffling of the set. It is a fast paced performance with constant movement.

“Everything has to flow fluidly through the show,” Jones said.

To continue with the idea of interpretation, each scene had to be creatively crafted in a collaborative process by the director and the rest of the “Love and Information” team. Some scenes are silly where others are serious. Some are simple and relatable where some are surreal and creepy.

“It was truly, in my experience, one of the best collaborative experiences I’ve ever had and that’s saying a lot because I’ve been doing this for over 40 years,” Jones said.

Jones has been a part of CSU’s theater department for 24 years and plans on retiring in May. This is her last show at CSU. And one of her most unique.

“What a great finish,” Jones said. “What a great way to go out on such a strong piece.”

There are 16 actors, 9 women and 7 men, in about 60 scenes in less that 2 hours. In a show frequently described as “kaleidoscopic,” there are lots of learning opportunities for the actors.

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“It’s a very challenging and effective way to give actors an opportunity to shift on a dime,” Jones said.

In blue light, two characters interact as one looks at the wrist of the other, examining her suicide attempt.
One scene titled “Depression.” (Photo courtesy Colorado State University Flickr)

The performance and transitions by the actors is impressive. As are the presentations from the backstage crew. The impactful projections match the scene they are behind, the minimalist set allows for the kaleidoscope of a show, the costumes to show change all enhance the experience while being designed by students, according to Jones.

It leaves the audience wanting more from each scenes with a “what happens next.” There’s no real closure for all the characters. It messes with your head a little. There is a strong element of individualization in that the play provides a window into all these lives for a quick second and is even existential at times. It is the theatrical equivalent of the blinking guy gif.

Should you see it? Yes!

It is unlike any play I have ever scene. It messes with the audience and is not fully comprehensible and that is part of the beauty.

It’s weird. I like it.

Future shows:

November 16, 17, 7:30 p.m.

November 18, 8 p.m.

Collegian reporter Maddie Wright can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @maddierwright.

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