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TABLE OF CONTENTSABOUT ON CUE AND STC2CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS3CAST AND CREATIVES4ABOUT THE PLAY5NARRATIVE STRUCTURE7DRAMATIC FORM8SET DESIGN 9THEMES AND IDEAS10AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT ANDDRAMATIC MEANING11BIBLIOGRAPHY 13Compiled by Hannah Brown.The activities and resources containedin this document are designed foreducators as the starting point fordeveloping more comprehensive lessonsfor this production. Hannah Brownis the Education Projects Officers forthe Sydney Theatre Company. You cancontact Hannah Copyright protects this EducationResource.Except for purposes permitted by theCopyright Act, reproduction by whatevermeans in prohibited. However, limitedphotocopying for classroom use only ispermitted by educational institutions.

ABOUT ON CUE AND STCABOUT ON CUESTC Ed has a suite of resources located on our website to enrich and strengthenteaching and learning surrounding the plays in the STC season. Each show willbe accompanied by an On Cue e-publication which will feature all the essentialinformation for teachers and students, such as curriculum links, informationabout the playwright, synopsis, character analysis, thematic analysis andsuggested learning experiences. For more in-depth digital resources surroundingthe ELEMENTS OF DRAMA, DRAMATIC FORMS, STYLES, CONVENTIONS andTECHNIQUES, visit the STC Ed page on our website.Such resources include: videosdesign sketchbooksworksheetspostersABOUT SYDNEY THEATRE COMPANYIn 1980, STC’s first Artistic Director Richard Wherrett definedSTC’s mission as to provide “first class theatrical entertainmentfor the people of Sydney – theatre that is grand, vulgar,intelligent, challenging and fun.”areas; and reaches beyond NSW with touring productionsthroughout Australia. Through these partnerships andinitiatives, STC plays a part in ensuring a creative, forwardthinking and sociable future by engaging with young people,students and teachers.Almost 35 years later, under the leadership of Artistic DirectorAndrew Upton, that ethos still rings true.The theatre careers of many of Australia’s internationallyrenowned artists have been launched and fostered at STC,including Mel Gibson, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving, GeoffreyRush, Toni Collette, Rose Byrne, Benedict Andrews and CateBlanchett.STC offers a diverse program of distinctive theatre of visionand scale at its harbourside home venue, The Wharf; SydneyTheatre at Walsh Bay; and Sydney Opera House, as its residenttheatre company.STC often collaborates with international artists andcompanies and, in recent years, the company’s internationalprofile has grown significantly with productions touringextensively to great acclaim.STC has a proud heritage as a creative hub and incubatorfor Australian theatre and theatre makers, developing andproducing eclectic Australian works, interpretations of classicrepertoire and great international writing. STC strives tocreate theatre experiences that reflect Sydney’s distinctivepersonality and engage audiences.STC is assisted by the Australian Government through theAustralia Council, by its arts funding and advisory body, andby the New South Wales Government through Arts NSW.Strongly committed to engagement in the community, STC’sEducation and Communities programs aim to inspire theatreappreciation and participation not only in theatres but also inschools, community halls; wherever people get together. STCoffers an innovative School Drama program; partners withgroups in metropolitan Sydney, regional centres and

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONSAlison Whyte and Ursula Yovich in Sydney Theatre Company and MalthouseTheatre’s production of Love and Information, 2015. Image: Pia Johnson. Zahra Newman in Sydney Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre’sproduction of Love and Information, 2015. Image: Pia Johnson. Anita Hegh, Alison Whyte and Anthony Taufa in Sydney Theatre Companyand Malthouse Theatre’s production of Love and Infomation, 2015. Image: PiaJohnson. SUITABLE FOR Stage 5 and 6SUBJECTS Drama English3


ABOUT THE PLAYUrsula Yovich and Harry Greenwood in Sydney Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre’s production of Love and Information, 2015. Image: Pia Johnson. Ursula Yovich and Harry Greenwood in Sydney Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre’s production of Love and Information, 2015. Image: Pia Johnson. LOVE AND INFORMATIONBY CARYL CHURCHILLA child cannot feel pain. A man has a secret. A woman wantsan affair. A scientist dissects a brain. Someone tells the police.Another puts an elephant on the stairs.Our Wharf 1 Theatre has played host to Churchill’s workseveral times – from Serious Money and Top Girls to Far Awayand Seven Jewish Children.In a series of tantalising vignettes, over 100 vibrant characterssearch for meaning in their lives. Through sex, death, feeling,thinking, taxidermy and karaoke they discover each other.Within their intimate whispers, philosophical exchanges andlife-changing revelations, we see ourselves and the people welove.In Love and Information, her signature wit and profoundintuition reveal a kaleidoscope of human connections.Guided by STC Resident Director Kip Williams, the giftedcast, including Marco Chiappi, Glenn Hazeldine, Anita Hegh,Zahra Newman, Anthony Taufa and Ursula Yovich, AlisonWhyte, use their chameleonic talents to explore this uniqueand evocative snapshot of our modern era.Caryl Churchill is one of the world’s foremost livingplaywrights. Since the 1950s, she has maintained inventivenessand a currency that remain unmatched.5

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT AND DIRECTORCARYL AND KIPFor example, Williams’ Macbeth in 2014 reversed traditionalexpectations of theatre. The audience were seated on thestage, while the actors performed in the auditorium. Femaleactors played male roles and seasoned actors played children.Conventions such as multiple role, transitions using props andmask were also used. In 2015, Williams directed TennesseeWilliams’ Suddenly Last Summer. The first act of the play wasperformed behind a white projection screen spanning thewidth of the stage. The dramatic action was then projectedonto the screen using live feed from steady-cams. This choiceonce again echoed a major theme in the play – the binaryexperience of watching and being watched.It is fitting that Kip Williams is directing a Caryl Churchillproduction, as both artists are avid innovators of thecontemporary stage. Over the past 30 years, Churchill hasconsistently pushed the boundaries of what plays are and canbe as written by playwrights. While Williams challenges howtheatre can be directed, designed and structured as well as theactor/audience relationship.Churchill is described by German playwright Marius VonMayenburg as having “changed the language of theatre”. Hegoes on to say that “.only the greats deserve that accolade –Shakespeare, Chekhov, Ibsen, Brecht, Beckett – a roll call towhich we could easily add Churchill” (de Angelis, 2012). Inmany respects, Churchill’s plays can be described as ‘antiplays’ as they defy traditional conventions of theatre in termsof narrative structure and character. It is the mixture ofunique theatricality and ethical issues that allow her playsto be timeless. Churchill herself once said that plays “.areabout finding a broader way of looking [.] playwrights don’tgive answers, they ask questions” (Sydney Theatre CompanyProgram, 2015). Despite its timelessness, Churchill’s writingis always a direct response to societal issues of the time. Inthe case of Top Girls, the play was a response to MargaretThatcher’s Conservative UK government.Both Williams and Churchill are and will continue tobe innovators of the contemporary stage by challengingaudiences’ perceptions of theatre and experimenting withtheatrical conventions.As a playwright, Churchill is well known for includingunconventional ‘gimmicks’ in her writing, such as non-humancharacters like goblins, shape-shifters and clones. In her workTop Girls, the first act consists of a dinner party with notablefemales from history, including Pope Joan of Arc and LadyNijo, a 13th century Japanese concubine.TAKE YOUR CUE What other Churchill plays have you seen or read?How did they experiment with theatrical conventions? What other plays directed by Kip Williams haveyou seen? How were your expectations changed orchallenged while watching the play/s?Churchill’s unique playwriting techniques were developedduring her involvement in the 1970s and 1980s with thealternative Joint Stock Theatre Company in England. Thecompany pioneered a collaborative workshop-based methodfor text creation. Is a play still a play if it defies traditional conventionsof narrative, character and production techniques?Why/why not?As co-resident director at Sydney Theatre Company,Kip Williams has consistently used contemporary andunconventional production techniques in the directionof his plays. Williams’ direction has changed audiences’understanding of how meaning can be manipulated in atheatre performance. This has often been achieved by utilisingvarious techniques to make audiences more aware of theirpresence and role as audience members in the theatre.6

NARRATIVE STRUCTUREAccording to Elaine Aston, a professor of contemporary performance at Lancaster University, Churchill’s writing is “not justa question of politics, but a politics of style”. All of Churchill’s plays are written as episodic or non-linear narratives, as sheconsistently looks to find new forms to express her ideas. Love and Information has an episodic narrative, meaning that each sceneexists individually, without any clear relationship to the scenes before or after.Love and Information is written in seven sections, each consisting of seven scenes, with the final section having eight scenes.Churchill stipulates that the sections must be played in order, however the scenes within those sections can be played in anyorder the director chooses. However, in the seventh section there is a scene that is stipulated as the ‘final scene’. Within theplay, there are also ten scenes titled ‘Depression Scenes’, and Churchill requires the director to incorporate at least one of thesescenes within the play. At the end of the script there is an addendum of 16 scenes entitled ‘Random’ that can be incorporatedthroughout the seven sections. As the director, Williams has chosen to use all ten ‘Depression Scenes’. The myriad of options forperforming this play means that every production will have between 51 and 76 scenes and no production will ever be the same.Williams has chosen a total of 70 scenes for the STC production.Zahra Newman and Anita Hegh in Sydney Theatre Company and MalthouseTheatre’s production of Love and Infomation, 2015. Image: Pia Johnson. Anthony Taufa, Alison Whyte and Anita Hegh in Sydney Theatre Companyand Malthouse Theatre’s production of Love and Infomation, 2015. Image: PiaJohnson. Anita Hegh, Alison Whyte and Zahra Newman in Sydney Theatre Companyand Malthouse Theatre’s production of Love and Infomation, 2015. Image: PiaJohnson. 7

DRAMATIC FORMDramatic Form is the way Dramatic Action is structured, organised and shaped. In Love and Information each scene is simply givena title and has no indication of place, time or characters. Churchill leaves the context of each scene to be decided by the directorsand the actors.An example of the contextless dialogue is below:TAKE YOUR CUEFLASHBACKBreathe How did the episodic narrative structure make you feel? What effect does the play’s structure have on thecreation of Dramatic Meaning? Why is Love and Information considered an importantplay in the contemporary theatrical landscape?Ah ah ahJust breatheAh ahI’ve got you, it’s all rightAhAll right.Thank you. Sorry. I keep seeing. I can see. I can’t stop seeing.I wish I could stop it for you.Short of smacking in my skull.They say time, you may be able to forget, even if it’s a long time.Once it’s in there. Once you know that stuff.This Dramatic Form gives the director a large amount ofartistic freedom and is consistent with Churchill’s reputationfor writing plays that challenge traditional playwritingconventions. Kip Williams began the first day of rehearsalswithout roles being allocated to the actors. As a way ofexploring the contextual possibilities of the scenes, Williamspulled names out of a hat to decide who would read thedifferent scenes. This was continued for the entire first weekand allowed the cast to explore the possibilities of roles,relationships, situations, place and time. When these Elementsof Drama change, so too does the Dramatic Meaning. Adialogue between an elderly man and woman has a verydifferent meaning to the same dialogue played betweentwo young girls. Love and Information encompasses over 100roles played by eight actors. The convention of multiple role/transformational acting brings each of the roles to life, usingvariations in vocal dynamics, movement, body language andfacial expression.The micro-dramas also challenge an actor’s ability to developcharacter. Some scenes have characters that are two-dimensionaland present a viewpoint or neutral conversation; while othercharacters have been given back-stories. No matter how long orshort the scene, there is always a motivation and something atstake in the scene which drives the micro-drama forward.8

SET DESIGNUrsula Yovich and Harry Greenwood in Sydney Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre’s production of Love and Infomation, 2015. Image: Pia Johnson. The vast amount of contexts in Love and Information requiresan adaptable set. The set of STC’s production of Love andInformation is designed by David Fleischer and features whitemodular blocks that are moved into different configurationsto give an indication of place, aiding the Dramatic Actionin each scene. The basic set allows the audience to use theirimagination to bring the given circumstances to life.TAKE YOUR CUE How did the episodic narrative structure makeyou feel? What effect does the play’s structure have on thecreation of Dramatic Meaning? Why is Love and Information considered an importantplay in the contemporary theatrical landscape?Andrew Fuhrmann, a reviewer for The Crikey Daily Review,described the set as a “.white walled laboratory” where theaudience are observers studying life in “.successive, mutantforms” (Fuhrmann, 2015).Minimal props have also been used in the scenes to createcontext. In various moments of the play, the props providesubtle symbolism and give the audience clues to an overarching Dramatic Meaning of the play.9

THEMES AND IDEASCARYL CHURCHILL’S LOVE ANDINFORMATION IS A REFLECTION OF LIFE,WHICH SHE BELIEVES IS ESSENTIALLYA DOUBLE HELIX OF LOVE ANDINFORMATION. THROUGHOUT THE 76SCENES OF THE PLAY, MANY QUESTIONSABOUT LOVE AND INFORMATION BECOMEAPPARENT. BELOW IS AN OUTLINE OFTHE MAIN THEMES AND IDEAS PRESENTIN THE PLAY.TAKE YOUR CUE What information do we desire? What informationdo we fear? How can information affect love? How can love affectinformation? Does information have currency? What type ofinformation is more important than other types ofinformation? How are we positively and negatively affected byinformation provided to us through technology? What specific scenes in the play made the abovequestions apparent to the audience? Do you believe we are bombarded with informationin the 21st century? How can this change?LOVEMost of the scenes in Love and Information are duologues,occurring between two characters and portraying an insightinto their relationship. The duologues also reveal the humanneed for connection and how information and technologyimpact upon these connections.INFORMATIONThe acquisition of information is essential to life and living.Love and Information prompts the audience to think aboutthe types of information we come into contact with on a dailybasis, including gossip, secrets, data and facts, as well as thesubject matter of information such as personal, historical,scientific, etc. The various scenes also pose the question ofwhether information has currency and if some pieces ofinformation are more valuable than others. Over the pasttwenty years, the way information is distributed has changedimmensely and now extends to a wide range of technology,including mobile phones, email, the Internet and social media.10

THEMES AND IDEAS (CONT.)Alison Whyte and Anthony Taufa in Sydney Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre’s production of Love and Information, 2015. Image: Pia Johnson. RITUALTAKE YOUR CUELove and Information also reflects on the rituals of life. Aritual is an action or event that is repeated regularly or at acertain time as a ceremony. Various ritualistic moments areinterspersed throughout the narrative, allowing the audienceto reflect on life and how it is ‘performed.’ TAKE YOUR CUE: Which scenes in the play are rituals of everyday life?Why are rituals important to individuals and society?How do rituals relate to love and information?Do you agree with Caryl Churchill that life is made up of loveand information, shaped by ritual? Is there another elementthat is just as pivotal to our existence?11Which scenes in the play are rituals of everyday life?Why are rituals important to individuals and society?How do rituals relate to love and information?Do you agree with Caryl Churchill that life is madeup of love and information, shaped by ritual? Is thereanother element that is just as pivotal to our existence?

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENTAND DRAMATIC MEANINGAnita Hegh in Sydney Theatre Company andMalthouse Theatre’s production of Love andInfomation, 2015. Image: Pia Johnson. Glenn Hazeldine and Ursula Yovich in Sydney Theatre Company and MalthouseTheatre’s production of Love and Infomation, 2015. Image: Pia Johnson. Maintaining audience engagement throughout an episodicnarrative can be challenging, as the traditional story arcof rising action leading to a climax and the resolution of aproblem is not present. Williams describes his approach toLove and Information as creating a crescendo by treating theplay like a symphony, where he is the composer. A throughline of themes and ideas are discovered by the audience asthe play unfolds, creating a sense of cohesion across the 76micro-dramas. Audience engagement therefore derives fromallowing audience members to discover how the puzzle fitstogether to create an overall meaning. Like Samuel Beckett,Churchill does not speak publicly about her plays nor takeinterviews (Lawson, 2012). Instead, she prefers the audienceto discover the meaning for themselves - as Kip Williamssays, “Caryl likes to make her audience work”. The variances inrhythm, from scenes that are as long as a sneeze to scenes thatlast five minutes, also provide contrasts that assist in audienceengagement.TAKE YOUR CUE Which scenes did you engage with as an audiencemember most and

Nijo, a 13th century Japanese concubine. Churchill’s unique playwriting techniques were developed during her involvement in the 1970s and 1980s with the alternative Joint Stock Theatre Company in England. The company pioneered a collaborative workshop-based method for text creation. As co-resident director at Sydney Theatre Company,

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