By KAREN LUNDE

What’s the difference between data and emotion? That’s the question Aaron Lamb plans to explore as director of Harlequin’s upcoming production of Love and Information, a fast-moving, experimental play by British writer Caryl Churchill. Its over-100 characters are usually portrayed by an ensemble of 20 or more actors. Harlequin will stage its production with only seven. “In using only seven actors,” says Lamb, “we’ll be doing a lot of exploration with movement. This really is a collaboration between the cast and the audience to move quickly from one thing to the next.”

He explains the set, designed by Jeannie Beirne, is primarily a box for projections but mimics Stonehenge shapes for an element of the ancient. Lamb says Beirne “has also given a nod to artificial intelligence by incorporating an omnipresence of circuitry. Basically, if you look carefully, we could be inside a computer.”

He describes Love and Information as a mosaic in which individual pieces don’t convey the whole story. The audience is challenged to take the play in as a whole and then process that experience.  “The play itself is very prescient,” says Lamb. “We are in an age where we are constantly asking what makes us unique. We’re inventing computers that can do the work we used to do [but] 100 times faster. We ask Alexa what the weather’s like. We ask Siri for directions. We interact with each other online and sometimes, those relationships have no basis in reality. If we apply a simple Turing test, at what point do we accept that we might not know whether the other person is a human or not? At what point do we care — and why?”

WHAT

Love and Information

WHEN

8 p.m. Thursdays – Saturdays,

2 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 28 – March 23

WHERE

Harlequin Productions’ State Theater,

202 Fourth Ave. E, Olympia

HOW MUCH

$12-$35

LEARN MORE

harlequinproductions.org

360-786-0151