More than a quarter of the class of 2017 spent part of their Senior Spring Project (SSP) preparing for the production of Caryl Churchill’s 2012 Love and Information, a play comprised of 50 sketches centered on romance and ranging from a few seconds to a few minutes.
Under the direction of Thomas Mandile, Nick Piccirillo, Sophie Smyke, and Ross Harrison (all ’17), 24 actors took the stage to perform the scenes on May 24 and 25. One scene depicted a man challenging his friend’s devotion to a virtual girlfriend, another acted as a boy more interested in the snail on his arm than in the girl vying for his attention, and a third portrayed a family watching a wedding video.
The directors chose Love and Information from a collection of plays Drama Teacher Mark Lindberg proposed to accommodate the large number of seniors interested in participating.
“All four of us loved the writing. We thought it spoke to our generation and would resonate with actors in a way more traditional plays can’t always do,” Sophie said, praising the honesty in the text. “We liked that a lot of the scenes included vague themes that could spark conversation in rehearsal about current topics.”
After two weeks of leading their peers through acting exercises, the directors discussed the actors’ strengths and weaknesses and then identified who would be best in which roles.
The cast rehearsed for two hours each Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and the directors met for additional hours on Tuesdays to discuss production decisions and check in with Mr. Lindberg.
“The directors are very different from one another in affect and personality, save [for] the fact that each brought a great deal of enthusiasm and dedication to the project,” Mr. Lindberg said.
Seniors also worked on the set, with Genny Cohen leading Nell Fusco, Caroline Nelson, Eptisam Kassim, and Dany Hernandez (all ’17) in its design. Genny said the role was a natural fit for her and that she enjoyed “building upon” her 10 years of experience with stage crew.
Thomas reported that the theater was three-quarters full on Wednesday and sold out Thursday. He said he particularly enjoyed the sketch featuring a young, nervous woman on a first date, which prompted uncontrollable laughter from the audience.
“‘Manic’ makes my favorites list because it’s a ‘funny’ scene until you realize what you’re laughing at: a woman who has a mental issue and can’t interact with other people,” he said. “All [of the sketches] seem to have no purpose, but when put next to each other, they make the audience think about the simplicity and the importance of the small things we do every day.”