Firelight Theatre Workshop to present “Love and Information”

  • Firelight Theatre in Peterborough will perform ‘Love and Information’ from Sept. 12-29. Courtesy photo

Published: 9/5/2019 4:20:03 PM
Modified: 9/5/2019 4:19:52 PM

This fall, Peterborough’s Firelight Theatre Workshop presents award-winning playwright Caryl Churchill’s recent play, “Love and Information”.

The production, which features an ensemble of ten local actors playing ten characters each, opens Sept. 12 with a preview performance on Sept. 11. The play runs through Sept. 29.

“Love and Information” builds upon the themes of Firelight’s second season, which is an exploration of image, empathy, and what makes a family. Earlier this season Firelight produced Annie Baker’s “Body Awareness”, the fourth installment of their ongoing series “We Were Friends”, and “Tiny Friendship Stories”, a community pop-up performance as part of Thing in the Spring.“Love and Information” first premiered at The Royal Court Theatre in London in 2012, followed by an off-Broadway run at New York Theatre Workshop.

The play is comprised of over 60 scenes with no repeating characters. Lines of dialogue are unassigned, characters are unnamed, and the order of the scenes is up for grabs. In short, Churchill leaves a lot of room for the director and ensemble to interpret the raw text. The open-ended nature of this piece is a great fit for Firelight, which was named New Hampshire Magazine’s Best Experimental Theatre earlier this year. Firelight’s process encourages actors, designers, and technicians to generate ideas, try things out, discard them, and try again.

“We’re building this piece of theatre like we would put together a puzzle,” says Co-Artistic Director Nora Fiffer, “We begin with the words the playwright gives us. And we start making choices until we find the right fit.”

The play is directed by Co-Artistic Director Jason Lambert, who considers the play “a nuanced collage.” “Like all Churchill’s plays,” Lambert says, “it speaks to contemporary life with generosity and a clear eye.”

And like all Firelight projects, the artistic team is what makes the work possible. Harrisville-based composer Miriam Sharrock is writing original music for the production, and mixed media artist Corwin Levi (also based in Harrisville) designs the set.

“We are working on crafting engaging, interstitial spaces across more than fifty acts. The Firelight team has been extraordinarily inventive and generously receptive to collaboration,” Levi says.

“This collaboration has been, for me, a journey of discovery and experimentation. Stepping outside the box and embracing the uncomfortable, weird and unconventional has been necessary and surprisingly welcomed,” Sharrock says of the process. 

The ten-person ensemble ranges in age from 16 to mid-60s. Returning Firelight actors are Laura Carden (“Realistic Joneses”, “Body Awareness”), Lambert (“Skylight”, “Realistic Joneses”, “Body Awareness”, “We Were Friends”),​​​​​​​ Jazimina MacNeil (“We Were Friends #3”), Sarah Sandback (“Body Awareness”), and Henry Walters (“Realistic​​​​​​​ Joneses”, “We Were Friends #3”). New to the Firelight stage are Bill Cass, Aria Frehner, Eddie Gomez, Molly McDowell, and David Wolpe. Alexis Cleary stage manages, Jenny Foreman consults on movement, and Virgo Batty designs costumes.

Also essential to the process is Dramaturg Dr. Tori Haring-Smith, whose research and insight help piece together Churchill’s puzzle.

“The act of putting these pages on the stage and in the bodies of actors reveals how we rely upon our humanity to confront, combat, overcome, lose to, and mourn the swirl of information in which we live,” she says. “Each of these characters is trying to connect in some way with others, reaching out.”

Haring-Smith believes in “working from our hearts” and “not getting lost in our heads.” “The process of putting this show on its feet calls on us to dig deep into our humanity – and isn’t that the very essence of theatre?,” she says.

“Love and Information” is a powerful mosaic, exploring patterns of how we gather knowledge and strive for human intimacy. The scope, size, and enigmatic nature of the play make this Firelight’s most ambitious project to date.

“Caryl Churchill is a hero. Her work demands a lot from artists and audience alike. This play is such an opportunity for studio exploration and ensemble. Its potential for collaborative creativity is nearly dizzying,” Lambert says.

Firelight’s mission is to create professional, innovative theatre in alternative spaces at an affordable price. This year Firelight is offering membership opportunities for 20% discounted tickets and special events. The company also offers pay-what-you-can performances and free seats to volunteer house managers.

The show will be performed Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m., from Sept. 12-29, at the Guernsey Building, 70 Main St., Suite 204, Peterborough. Tickets are $25, and seating is limited. Advance tickets are strongly recommended.

For more information about Firelight Theatre Workshop and to purchase tickets, please visit firelighttheatreworkshop.com.

For further information, contact Nora Fiffer at firelighttheatreworkshop@gmail.com.




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