BLACKstage explores ‘Love and Information’ through situational comedy

Dec. 3, 2023, 10:21 p.m.

This weekend, BLACKstage presented a delightful take on British playwright Caryl Churchill’s play “Love and Information.” 

Established in 2007, BLACKstage tells stories of communities not often represented in traditional theater, primarily from the Black perspective.

Navigating Churchill’s intricate text is no easy feat, yet the performers exhibited impressive wit and pacing. The script was particularly challenging; actors frequently had to cut others off mid-sentence, forming moments that were difficult to coordinate. Regardless, under Liyah Ernest’s ’26 clear direction, the company delivered a cohesive and accessible experience.

“Love and Information” comprises seven acts, each featuring scenes ranging from seconds to a few minutes. Ernest skillfully integrated the various vignettes into a cohesive world, exploring how we seek, filter, process, dismiss and question information. We are left pondering its impact on our capacity to love. 

The loose structure of the play and the cast flexibility — the play does not gender any of its characters or specificy racial casting — provided the director with ample creative freedom to shape the narrative, emphasizing specific themes and questions in their production. 

I attended the one-hour performance on Friday night and had a wonderful time. With short scenes and quick costume changes, I was hooked from start to finish.

The cast exhibited a commendable level of talent, showcasing versatility in the roles they portrayed. Standout performances included Nifemi Bankole ’27 seamlessly transitioning from a husband becoming aware of his wife’s affair, to an anxious politician in the heat of a scandal, to a concerned colleague confronting a friend regarding the friend’s virtual lover.

Nia Patton ’25 also delivered compelling performances across a spectrum of characters. A particularly powerful moment was her declaration that she was the mother, not the sister, of her younger “sibling” (Hailey Ramzan ’27), highlighting a relationship that isn’t typically covered in art. 

The show made unique use of recurring sitcom aesthetics. Humorous audio commercials and advertisements played during transitions, and well-placed laugh tracks enhanced the comedic elements. 

Notably, the show’s interspersed voiceover ads contrasted the emotional weight of scenes, offering levity in tense moments. BLACKstage even advertised for applications for their winter musical “Dreamgirls” in one particularly fun ad. 

From the direction, to the acting, to the tech, I was struck by the remarkable levels of expertise, design and quality displayed in “Love and Information.” The performance proved to be a fast-paced delight, offering a wonderful exploration into the intersection between love and technology in our ever-progressing society.

Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective thoughts, opinions and critiques.

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