'Going out on a high'

Assistant Directing on Love and Information will be my final position as Trainee Director of the Court. And that is why they created the term ‘going out on a high’. It’s hard to get much higher than this. Top Girls was the play that formed my love for theatre. Then, in an all-girls grammer school, that was about the only piece for young, theatrical women with more than two parts, and what a blessing. Now, being able to share ideas, stories and granola bars with one of our greatest living British writers and a personal heroine, is a dream my 16 year old self would have scoffed at.

Love and Information has been defined by glorious and continuous discoveries: from the initial workshops in March when we first began to grapple with what this thing could be, to the beginning of rehearsals, and hearing the script read without definite parts, line by line by the company of 15 actors and from realising and fine-tuning each character and scenario to finally seeing it alive onstage. We are still figuring and re-imagining and unearthing every day.

As well as reading Top Girls when I was a budding theatre-maker, I saw Drunk Enough To Say I Love You? in New York just as I was starting to imagine pursing a life as a theatre director. Anyone who has seen the show will understand the impression it had. I’d never before seen a sofa carrying world leaders float and rise onstage, nor coffee mugs and other props disappear before my very eyes. James is a subtle force of a director and it is extraordinary to be able to watch him work.

What Caryl and James’ work allows, is a space where possibility can seed and expand and mushroom. James joked through rehearsals that Caryl has stopped using punctuation or pauses in her text and indeed, on the page, with no indication of character, place or time, Love and Information seems a long way, formally, from The Skriker. But the essence is still the same and is still unique to Caryl’s work: that it is a true and generous collaboration between the playwright and the director and actors, because within her text everything is possible, and anything could happen.

It is always difficult to write these blog entries and not give away the best of the show. So I will have to urge you to go and see this new Caryl Churchill play (if you need any more urging) based purely on riddles:

It is an empty box but it is full of wonders.
It is a blank space but it is full of colours.
It is an evening but it is an entire world.
It is a few seconds and an infinity of possibilities.