Autumn Koehnlein can’t find her car keys. Michael Makar may or may not know something about that. In pig Latin. Alliterative dreams of blackberries, butterflies, and ballet combine with a toy snail, a multilingual table, and a rousing dance number to create a dizzying, dazzling evening’s performance with Caryl Churchill’s “Love and Information” at Fells Point Corner Theatre this month.
The ensemble of nine terrific actors carries the load together…
Directed by Deirdre McAllister, “Love and Information” continues a recent theme of Baltimore productions that explore the human/technological interface. Its structure is rapid-fire and consists of somewhere between 40 and 50 separate performance pieces ranging in length from several seconds to several minutes each. Serving as connective tissue among them is a nearly all white set by Michael Vincent, skillfully repetitive costumes by Maggie Flanigan, and a pointillistic soundtrack by designer David Crandall (with material from local band Horse Lords). The effect of this assembly style is wonderful: while the individual stories vary greatly in message and impact, the unified whole is cohesive, complete, and completely entertaining. Most of the production is live, though quite a few of the pieces appear partly or wholly as video projections. This work by Chris Uehlinger is absolutely first rate, adds rich texture, and contextually underscores the human/machine aesthetic.
With so many tiny playlets comprising the show, individual character names are dispensed with. The ensemble of nine terrific actors carries the load together and in different small group combinations. The aforementioned Koehnlein and Makar are joined by Willard Brewington III (a perfect straight-man in the evening’s funniest piece, ‘The Child Who Didn’t Know Pain’), Isaiah Mason Harvey (watch for him – he’s got serious chops), Nina Kearin (“I don’t mind not meaning anything. Does that make me god?”), Carolyn Koch (who plays determination and yearning as well as anybody in town), Megan Livingston (displaying gleeful energy over Chinese poetry), Jess Rivera (delivering the greatest Godzilla impersonation of all time), and Caitlin Weaver (tightrope walking in perfect rhythm through ‘Memory House’). Fells’ entire 2019-2020 season so far has featured consistently amazing casting and “Love and Information” definitely carries that standard.
Audiences who enjoyed Suzan-Lori Parks’ “365 Plays / 365 Days” will find structural similarities here. As with any collection of short works, one is tempted to reassure potential audience with the suggestion “if you don’t care for one of them, just wait a minute”, but in the case of FPCT’s “Love and Information,” the suggestion is unnecessary. This 90-minute chain does not contain a single weak link.
Advisories: Smoke, profanity.
Running Time: 87 minutes without intermission.
“Love and Information” appears through February 2 at Fells Point Corner Theatre, 251 S. Ann Street(410) 276-7837, Baltimore. For tickets call (410) 332-0033 or purchase online.