Love and Information opens at Studio Theatre
Actor Sule Rimi on Love and Information, Caryl Churchill’s deliberately disorienting play on how we consume knowledge and technology in the modern age.
With almost 60 scenes split into seven sections and over 100 characters being portrayed by only a handful of actors – just how demanding of a task is it to perform in this play?
It’s definitely been a challenging role for me. What’s interesting about the play is that Caryl Churchill wrote it so that no character is assigned any dialogue. None of the characters are gendered or even named, so anyone can play anyone. You’re literally just working off the words Churchill has put on the page with hardly any stage direction or other cues, and this gives you a great amount of freedom as an actor, but it’s also quite a challenge. It’s definitely the most costume changes I’ve ever had in a role!
One of the most interesting features of the play is that the scenes can be rearranged in a different order. Do you think audiences will respond differently based on how the scenes are ordered on the night?
It’s difficult to say as we’ve not actually performed in front of a proper audience yet. But I believe that all art is open to interpretation, and Love and Information reflects that perfectly. For instance, there’s a scene where a character tells a secret but the audience never actually finds out what that secret is. Myself and my co-actor have about 15-20 interpretations of what it could be, so when you think about how an audience is going to interpret it, there are literally limitless possibilities.
So, the overriding message centres on how we consume and use information via technology and how that impacts the ways we communicate?
Yeah, that’s a fair assessment. I think the play is about the quality of information and how you can’t necessarily believe everything you hear. You watch the news today and you don’t know what is real or fake. I read Orwell’s 1984 a few years ago and it’s just frightening how accurate it is with regards to the media today. It’s crazy because Orwell was saying all these things in the 1940’s, yet it literally still reflects the way we consume information today. You hear all this stuff about fake news and alternative truths – it’s all there in 1984. I’d say it is also about finding love in the modern world, if that doesn’t sound too cheesy to print.
As an actor, do you gravitate to roles in plays which send a particular message?
Definitely. People are feeling more and more disaffected in today’s society and the news is just all doom and gloom. My work offers a medium through which these issues can be discussed. It’s not necessarily a case of enlightening people, but trying to raise awareness instead. This play is meant to encourage people to think about what information they’re consuming: to do otherwise is just to distract people or give them an escape from the real issues at hand.
Love and Information opens at Studio Theatre 29th June – 14th July.
Tickets available at sheffieldtheatres.co.uk