Ella Muir

On the 24th March, the day after lockdown started in the UK, I went for a bike ride. A play had popped into my head along with the possibility of a collaborative de-centralised production. I went home and I began to flick through it when I was struck by this scene:

He’s in the kitchen cooking spaghetti and he’s upset about the news from Tripoli.

This scene seemed to capture so much of the zeitgeist. As Italy experienced tough lockdown measures and had one of the highest death rates in Europe. It seemed to capture the disconnection and the pain we were all feeling.

It just happened to be a play that was written eight years ago.

Act 4Maddie Smith

Love and Information is a hard play to describe. There’s no obvious plot to talk about. The play shows moments in the lives of hundreds of undefined characters. Lines are not specifically assigned. Each scene has a title and some words. These scenes are divided into seven acts. The scenes within each act can be played in any order. There are some other rules and some optional scenes but that is the general structure and idea behind it.

But what is it about?

Well, love and information.

For a less glib answer, I think the best way to start to explain it is to look at our production process. I started with the idea that I wanted the production to be created through connection and collaboration, but I also wanted each act to have its own feeling and thought process. As a result, I made the decision to put together seven different companies each with their own actors and director to produce each act. Doing this in person would be approaching a logistical impossibility but online, it just worked. A truly incredible team has worked on Love and Information, from my right-hand woman Amber De Ruyt to Ella Muir, Emma Lézé, and William Audis with their invaluable work on the visuals and audio for the show, as well as all the directors and performers. Despite being physically apart, there was a real sense of collaboration and cooperation.

Act 7Will Batty

On a basic level, this means creative connection is still possible in lockdown. Beyond and behind that blasé statement, I feel our production shows how in the Information Age human connection has changed. This is something that has been true for years, but lockdown makes it impossible to ignore. In creating this production, I was not trying to make a piece of theatre for lockdown; I was trying to create a piece of theatre for the Information Age. That is what Love and Information is about and why it fits so well.

We live in a time where there is an excess of information; this is just accelerating. Over the past two years, ninety percent of the data in the world was generated. We can all have conversations with anyone, anywhere, anytime. We can consume any piece of media ever produced. What do we do with this?

The text asks the question “what does love mean in the Information Age?” The direction, performances and reception in the end decide the answer. Love and Information tackles this question which has come into focus in isolation, but it is a question which has been important for years and will continue to be.


Mountain View

Celebrating Black British Theatre

Love and Information will be broadcast at 9pm on Friday the 19th of June on the ADC's YouTube Channel.