Love and Information will run every night at 7:00PM from Sept. 22-27 and will be offered as a CLP credit for students.
Another year means another season for Furman’s Theatre Department. The department’s upcoming show for the 51st season is Love and Information, written by British playwright Caryl Churchill and directed by the theatre department’s acting and directing professor, Maegan Azar. This play follows the journeys of over 100 characters as they investigate the modern state of human connection and attempt to sift through an increasing onslaught of information with love.
The Coronavirus pandemic has altered many aspects of our life, and theatre has been no exception; with COVID-19 safety regulations and some students being fully remote, the department has been forced to go in a new direction when it comes to the staging and rehearsal of the show and hosting an audience. The play itself includes multiple acts, each of which have been staged with their own performance space, actors, and stage manager. This production will also feature two student assistant directors, Lily Mayfield and Anna Bowman, as well as one production stage manager, Kaitlin Noble, to aid Head Director Azar. Azar described how the outdoor performance will work. “Small, socially distanced audiences of 10 will move from act to act, connected by random filmed scenes to thread the multi-media live production." Azar has also said that the performances will only be open to those on campus. She added, “We’ll have a virtual option for off campus patrons. Student tickets are free (or pay what you can) all season long!”
After talking with the cast and crew of Love and Information, their excitement for the upcoming show was clear. Regarding the rehearsal process, cast member Townsend Amick said, “Rehearsals have been all outdoors or on zoom. Even though we can’t rehearse like normal, it’s still very productive. It has been very interesting to work in a different capacity like this.” When asked about her feelings as the performance dates get closer, cast member Loni Covington says, “I have lots of excitement for my scene as the text becomes more significant each time it is spoken. I can’t wait to take on this new way of making art during a time we need it the most!”
When asked about her thoughts on putting on a show during a pandemic, remote cast member Emily Enlow replied, “It means a lot to me that the faculty are trying to make the most of our circumstances and still give us an opportunity to learn and create. It also just re-solidifies everything I already knew about the department; they want what’s best for us and care about our artistic well-being as well as our physical well-being and want to help us grow.” When asked the same question, cast member Casey Norei Funderburk says, “It means the world to me that Furman is still trying to produce theatre. Coming in as a freshman, I was very excited about my introduction to college theatre. I was nervous, however, that there would be no shows due to the current pandemic, but the fact that Furman is still trying to make art while accommodating social distancing makes me feel even more grateful to be a student at this school.”
With this form of theatre looking like it will be the norm for at least a few more months across the country, we asked remote cast member Clare Beth McConnell about the future of the art form. McConnell responded, “The innovation and creative problem solving that’s been necessary in this time will influence the future of the art form. Art is always changing and evolving with the world, and right now we have an opportunity to reconsider the traditional methods of doing things and encourage exploration of new media and formats in performance going forward.”
Love and Information will run every night at 7:00PM from Sept. 22-27 and will be offered as a CLP credit for students. The department is offering an All Access Pass this year to their shows for only $20, which went on sale Sept. 1. Reservations for in-person attendance must be made ahead of time to ensure a physically distanced audience.