Written by British playwright Nick Payne, Constellations explores the concept of multiple universes and multiple versions of ourselves through a tender love story. At first glance the story might appear to have some similarities to the movie Sliding Doors, but this play goes much further than the concept of just one alternate reality.
Set in the intimacy of the 1812 Theatre’s bakery performance space, the set (designed by Merinda Backway) is minimal but effective, with changing images of the universe being projected with each different parallel version of events. While the projections don’t create any sense of location of the story, they do serve to remind the audience of the concept of multiple parallel universes.
No props of any type are used, and at first the two performers sitting on the floor seemed a little odd, however, as the performers moved from one version of themselves to another it soon became apparent that the addition of any furniture would potentially hinder the lightning fast changes and become a distraction.
This two-hander play has a running time of just over an hour, but packs in a surprising amount of thought-provoking content. Cleverly written, the story unfolds through the multiple versions of the two characters – Marianne and Roland.
The play begins with Marianne and Roland’s first meeting. Marianne is a physicist and Roland is a beekeeper. With a mere flash of light and sound, the audience watch different versions of Marianne and Roland meeting – with a few variances each time. There is some repetition of lines as the alternate events take places, but each time, these lines are presented differently. The challenging concept of quantum physics and alternate realities is cleverly and succinctly explained through the story-telling.
Rhiannon Leach as Marianne and Kieran Tracey as Roland are both outstanding and give flawless performances. They move effortlessly from one version of their characters to another, with very distinct differences; often delivering the same lines in a completely different way.
Experienced director Justin Stephens has delivered a quality production that will leave you pondering for quite some time after the play ends. The transitions between the different parallel universes is smooth and well executed, giving the show a very professional and polished feel. Stephens has captured the heart of the piece and if nothing else, audiences will be enthralled by this tender love story.
Without giving away the plot, Constellations explores not only the concept of multiple parallel universes, but also the fact we can choose the way we behave and the way we respond to the events both within and beyond our control.
Constellations is now playing at the 1812 Theatre in Upper Ferntree Gully www.1812theatre.com.au