Remember banker’s boxes? Those white, cardboard, ten-inches-high-by-twelve-inches-wide-byfifteen-inches-deep storage bins that arrived flattened, to be unfolded and refolded until they took a shape that could house a neat row of manila file folders, filled with documents? When the box was full, it was put away with its identical counterparts, usually in a storage room, where those important, imperative papers could be revisited for festive occasions such as employee disciplinary actions, customer complaints or audits by the IRS. Those of us involved in evidence storage prior to a time when ethereal notions and earthly communications could be saved to a “cloud” spouted palm-sweat when the industrial lights went up on the set of Remy Bumppo’s production of innovative playwright Caryl Churchill’s “Love and Information,” which opens their 2015/16 season.
Rows of identical metal shelves are filled with countless, identical banker’s boxes. Would a piece of information need to be found in one of these boxes? Would a paper trail need to be established, connecting a piece of information from this box, to another box, to another? Churchill sets out to examine various forms of communication connections, and the way they influence human interaction, and ends up enlightening intersecting conversations about age, race, family, gender and privilege.
Churchill has recused herself from character descriptions, or even the order of the piece; the director and the design team shoulder those responsibilities, creating a unique work every time the piece is produced. Some of the scenes are in the form of the vignette; some are the length of a shared glance. Such short exchanges, combined with a complete lack of linearity, results in ninety minutes of short, sharp, sound bites of intermingled data and feeling.
Director Shawn Douglass’ talented ensemble of ten inhabit over 125 characters, while un-shelving, re-shelving, unloading, reloading and creating set pieces out of those banker’s boxes. Never mind how they memorize all those words; how do they remember which box? (Aaron Hunt)
Remy Bumppo at The Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 North Lincoln, (773)404-7336, remybumppo.org, $42.50-$57.50. Through November 1.