The UVA Department of Drama will present a unique streamed production of Love and Information by Caryl Churchill, on November 11 and 12. The production is led by UVA Drama faculty Dave Dalton and Mona Kasra.
In a media-dominated culture, information is more accessible than ever. How does our appetite for this lifestyle affect or alter our capacity for love? How do we negotiate human impulses and emotions within a high-speed cyberspace of our own construction? These questions are central to Churchill’s Love and Information, which explores these themes with over 100 characters, 50 short scenes, and a purposely open structure. The characters are not assigned a name, gender, or other identifying characteristics, offering the creative team a great deal of freedom in interpreting the work.
“We conceived of the production after the onset of COVID-19,” Dalton said, but plans gradually changed to accommodate necessary COVID health restrictions. “Our original vision was to create an event with a large, outdoor public performance. We wanted the students to be able to create and rehearse the 50+ scenes of the play without necessarily having to share a physical space. We thought this was especially important for students who are learning remotely and are not living on Grounds . So, we imagined a short film for each scene, that could be shot individually and then creatively combined using actors, imagery and audio, or digital design. We then planned to assemble the scenes into a visual performance which would be projected onto the side of the Drama Department building with a live, socially distanced audience. We eventually eliminated the outdoor performance out of safety concerns, but we have assembled the short films of each scene, and we’ll share the production online.”
Dalton and Kasra cast an energetic ensemble of 15 actor-filmmakers. During the first two weeks, the students took crash courses in filmmaking, sound, light, costumes, and script analysis. Each student was assigned at least three scenes to analyze from the script, defining characters and a conflict that made sense for the story they wanted to tell about the scene. Additionally, the students had to learn how to direct short films with their phones; support their artistic visions with technical knowledge of light, sound, costume, and editing; accommodate social distancing restrictions while working with fellow ensemble members; and, in many cases, find creative ways to film scenes with two actors in different spaces.
Dalton shared that “Our goals for the student ensemble were significant since we were asking them to learn how to make a short film, define the meaning of a scene, and cast, rehearse, and create the scene. On top of all of this, we wanted to encourage the ensemble to consider Churchill’s themes of “Love” and “Information” and find a way to express their personal points-of-view as artists, all while living and learning in unprecedented conditions as students.”
Through this ambitious artistic endeavor, we invite viewers to seek connections to both timely, and timeless, truths through the students’ work. “We hope they find truth, beauty, heartache, and humor in the stories that the students have created in response to Churchill’s dialogue and their own current experience.”
Love and Information streams online November 11 and 12 at 7:00pm and 9:30pm. Tickets are free and available at https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/41905 with a limit of one ticket per person, per performance.