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Love and Information

Scottish Youth Theatre, Glasgow
Three stars

When the small screens on which digital captions display both the titles and dialogue of Caryl Churchill's remarkable 2012 work briefly fall prey to technical gremlins mid-way through, without a word, the glitch accidentally sums up everything both the play and this unique production is about. Broken into fifty bite-scenes divided into four sections bridged by artfully riotous scene-changes, Churchill's text strips language down to its bare minimum. This is done by way of a series of duo-logues that show people reaching out for each other, more often than not in vain.

In a world where social media, computer-generated communication and virtual technology keeps everything at an increasingly distant remove, flesh and blood encounters are increasingly brief. As each couple attempts to get to the heart of the matter in scenes sometimes barely longer than a sketch, plenty of room is left for interpretation.

This is certainly the case in Jonathan Lloyd's production, performed by ten actors from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's British Sign Language (BSL) and English course in co-production with Solar Bear theatre company. With the bulk of each scene performed in BSL, this adds an extra dimension to an already fascinating whirl through matters of everyday life and death.

Elliptical one word titles hint at potential dramatic leaping off points, some of which are taken literally, others less so. One scene, Terminal, in which one character asks another how long they have left to live, is seen in two versions. The first is set in an airport terminal, the second in a bar.

What emerges from all this is an energetic set of dramatic meditations given an expressive physicality by the use of BSL. There's a lot to take in, but this is the point, and when it all comes together, it speaks volumes.

The Herald, November 24th 2017

ends

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