Photos – Novel Photographic
It begins with licking elbows and ends with contemplation. Constellations is a comedy-drama-romance with scientific and philosophical threads that pull together in a relatable format.
Free will and fate. Love, war, awkwardness and angst. What is the point? Life. If you’re reading this then you’re living it. Or rather, existing as particles. At any one instant, in any universe in any reality. Decisions are made and not made.
Sounds a bit intellectual? Yes, but in an approachable way. Constellations patches together mundane moments and defining events of the two character’s lifetimes. There is a dash of science that drives the plot, but it’s a seamless integration.
Constellations is an original work from British playwright Nick Payne. Set in contemporary UK, Marianne and Roland interact within infinite timelines. So how does this fit into 80 minutes? The plotline is non-linear: there is a lot of chopping and changing, but overall the story goes from awkward first encounters into happy coupledom through to the challenge of a medical diagnosis.
We begin when quirky enthusiastic 20-something physicist Marianne (Lexi Sekuless) meets laid-back beekeeper Roland (Kristian Jenkins). She’s single, he’s not. Then she’s single and he’s single but not interested. Then she’s single and he’s interested but he’s in a relationship. Huh? Don’t worry. There are many subtle ways the production marks where the Marianne-Roland story is up to and in which reality. Critical to this flow is the enchanting lighting design by Owen Horton and sound by Kyle Sheedy. The thumping bass in some scenes feels like catapulting into a maelstrom, yet the gentle birdsong in others relieves tension. A light-hearted mood can suddenly plunge into the darkness of coming doom.
Lexi Sekuless as Marianne is clear with tone and wriggles expertly with the awkwardness of first date interactions. Kristian Jenkins is a stable presence in gestures and soothing voice. His Roland is the solid rock to Marianne’s flighty outbursts.
To have emotional connection to the characters is certainly not universally achievable in any play. It’s hard to resolve how kind-hearted Roland tolerates Marianne’s posh bossiness. But that is in itself completely realistic. How many relationships seem truly bewildering to onlookers? This opposition in temperament generates dramatic tension and thus interest.
Constellations has all the genres of life’s DVD store, mainly: comedy, drama, romance. If you like deeper meanings dressed in a slightly quirky cloak, then this play ticks the boxes.
The Street present
by Nick Payne
Director Caroline Stacey
Venue: The Street | 15 Childers St, City West ACT
Dates: 14 – 29 July 2017
Tickets: $45 – $35