Like how the actors were bombarded with information, I feel bombarded by the number of vignettes I saw. I am not sure what to make of them. I feel as if I have just read an elusive poem and can not go back to reread it. I recognized that the color scheme of the actors’ clothes were possibly coordinated with different themes. Some of the colors were orange, red, green, and yellow(?). And I noticed some themes that perhaps went with the colors: youth, death/grief, betrayal.
There were some scenes that were incredibly random and just made me laugh. At times, the play felt like an arbitrarily-pieced-together quilt. There were scenes about secrets, schizophrenia, suicide, being a recluse, research on chickens, dance, playing the violin, knowing fear, not knowing remorse, being a mother, infidelity, insomnia, “dog” (this one was random and made me laugh), grief, spies, torture, etc (there were a total of 57 or 60 vignettes). Can you tell why I felt overwhelmed?
There were several scenes that were particularly memorable to me. In one scene, one of the actors asked if sex was just information. Asexual organisms make duplicates of themselves; sexual organisms exchange genetic information to create a being that (hopefully) has a greater chance of survival. Genetic code is information, so is sex just an exchange of information? Weird.
Two of my favorite vignettes were about “the kid” who didn’t know pain or fear. How does one explain an innate experience? I remember one of the actors, in an effort to explain pain, said something along the lines of: “It’s like unhappiness in your skin.” It made me laugh, because it’s true! Pain’s unpleasant; it makes you avoid the action or event that causes it. How do you explain such a sensation to someone who does not feel it? In the vignette about fear, a kindergarten teacher sat all the students down and read them a story book. I can’t remember the last time someone read a book to me. The scene was nostalgic and endearing. Kindergarten was so long ago, and yet not that long ago at all—for any of us really. The kid in the book who didn’t know fear was not afraid to spend the entire night in a haunted house. He was incredibly brave. His friends tried to explain to him what fear was. But in the final page of the book, he encountered a lion and got eaten. The vignette ended with the kindergarten teacher abruptly announcing the kid had gotten devoured and slamming the book shut. It was an ironic, grim, and rational story of the consequences of not having the helpful emotion of fear.
Regarding the title of the play, every vignette conveyed “information,” but “love”’s role in the play was more ambiguous to me. The play seemed to interpret “love” as meaning human connection in the broadest sense. Merriam Webster says that “love” is:
- affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests
- an assurance of affection
- to feel affection or experience desire
- warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion
- unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another
- to cherish
Personally, I think “love” is much stronger than “affection.” But the definition of “love” encompasses so much, perhaps it can mean simply, “to care.” Love and Information. Affection and Information. To care about information. How information informs affection: deepening it, lessening it, complicating it.
The play ended with actors taking selfies with audience members. I wonder if my picture got posted somewhere, or if it’s lost to the cloud…of information. Should I even care? Was this an intentional part of the play? Was the play purposefully enticing me to reach out to cast members—to care about talking to someone on the search for information?
*Photos by Peter Smith Photography