Quantum’s ‘Love and Information’ Breaks New Ground in Online Theater (Thurs., 6/18/20)

Lisa Velten Smith is part of a real-life couple playing data-addled couples in the Quantum online version of 'Love and Information,' by Caryl Churchill. (photo courtesy of the artist)

Lisa Velten Smith is part of a real-life couple playing data-addled couples in the Quantum online version of ‘Love and Information,’ by Caryl Churchill. (photo courtesy of the artist)

Attention theater fans: Perhaps you noticed that Zoom-style live readings of plays don’t really come alive as they do on stage. But now Quantum Theatre is trying something different. The Pittsburgh company presents an award-winning modern play that happens to be highly adaptable to online performance—Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information—and it’s live-streaming in segments, from June 18 to 21 (check details below). If you haven’t seen anything by the marvelously inventive Ms. Churchill, by all means start here. The show comes free, although Quantum will accept online donations. Love and Information is a rapid-fire series of 57 short vignettes, each one featuring a couple—i.e., a couple of humans. They’re in love but also swamped by information, and the seriocomic question is, What conquers what? Quantum is doing Love and Information with seven couples of actors who cohabit in real life: Daina Griffith and Daniel Krell, Connor McCanlus and John Feightner, Lisa Velten Smith and Andrew William Smith, plus four more. Each couple will have a camera set up in their home and the play will ping-pong among them as they role-switch from playing one fictional pair to another. As Karla Boos, Quantum’s artistic director, notes, this setup allows the actors to physically interact and actually act. Andrew William Smith is assisting Boos with the production.

And here’s the truly experimental part. To avoid onscreen viewing fatigue, Love and Information will stream in four cumulative segments of about a half-hour each. Thursday, June 18 at 8:30 p.m, you get segment 1 live. Segment 2 goes live Friday at 8:30 p.m., preceded by the now-video-recorded segment 1 at around 8 p.m. Ditto for Saturday at 8:30 p.m.—except the livestream is preceded by an hour’s worth of pre-recorded—and the whole play is viewable Sunday, June 21, starting at 7 p.m with the final segment live at 8:30 p.m. Is that enough Information? All you need now is Love. (MV)