The first thing that struck me about Love and Information was that it had no characters. At first, I found this frustrating because I had to keep track of whom each character was speaking to. As I read on however, I found myself assigning genders and sometimes even faces to characters solely based on their lines and the glimpse of plot given in each section. It was an interesting choice to not assign character names or viewpoints because it then is left to the audience member, or in this case reader, to create each character based on the information given in each story. This also gives the director the freedom to choose which stories go together by having the same actors act out the stories they mean to be connected. The director could also have different actors for each story to imply that they are all separate experiences.
Love and Information has, as one might expect from its title, a heavy emphasis on love and its relationship to information. In the “Fan” story, the characters are arguing over who loves a man more. They compete to see who knows more about the man (what his favorite color is, favorite food, etc.…) (pg. 6). In this story, the characters are quantifying love by the number of facts they know (information) about the object of their affection. Throughout the play, characters routinely try and put things into sensory friendly information, such as words (“God’s Voice) or visuals (“Wedding Video”) to try and remember, understand, and experience emotions (i.e. love). The story “Sex” talks about sex, which can be the physical expression of love “if you’re lucky”, as an exchange of gene information between two people. The story “Children” implies that that successful exchange of information in order to form an offspring is necessary for love, in the form of marriage, to last.
The story “Virtual”, describes the relationship between love and information in the technological age. One of the characters is in love with what seems to be a robot. One character is defending their love of the robot while the other is saying that it does not make sense because the robot is not “flesh and blood”. The in love character then responds, “she’s just information”. This implies that the only thing necessary for love to exist is information. This might sound crazy, but it is becoming more of a reality in our culture today. A seal robot stuffed animal name PARO was created to provide love and companionship to people who otherwise feel alone (i.e. dementia patients). More human-like robots that are meant to be the “imprint” of actual living people are also being created. That technology takes information from a living person and uses it to inform its conversation with others. The purpose of this technology is so that even after people die, the robot version of them (their clone) can provide undying love and information to their family and friends.
Why do you think the playwright did not assign character names?
Do you think the order of the stories matters?
Love and Information