TheatreWork New Milford’s ‘Constellations’ is out of this world
“Constellations” currently playing at New Milford’s TheatreWorks is a play about time, space, and language and how the tiniest change in any of these three components can ultimately alter the course of events. Mostly it’s about the experience of two people who meet, fall in love, and experience heartbreak as well as joy. To really appreciate playwright Nick Payne’s work, hone in on the significance and complexities of a single moment in time. Then consider the infinite possibilities of a couple experiencing that moment in multiple universes. What you witness is a play about two characters that not only fall in love, but where each and every sentence they utter can take on many different meanings at different times and in different spaces. This is where one sentence and how it is spoken can change the course of a relationship. As one of the two characters in the play explains: “In the quantum multiverse, every choice, every decision you’ve ever and never made exits in an unimaginably vast ensemble of parallel universes.”
While all of the above may seem a foreign and complicated concept, many of us have contemplated what our lives would have been like “if only” we had met a particular person sooner or later or never at all. How would that have changed our lives? Is it fate? Did we meet accidentally? Do we really have free will? Is our life and experiences played out on other parallel universes? There are so many questions to consider with this amazing play, and yet ultimately it is an intellectual romantic comedy.
The focus is on Marianne, a brilliant astrophysicist and Roland, a beekeeper. They keep meeting in multiple universes where scenes are replayed but often slightly changed by a word and/or how it is spoken or by whom it is spoken. Therefore, repetition is a key component in the unique structure of this play.
Heather Haneman plays Marianne with Matthew Benjamin Horowitz taking on the character of Roland. Both of these actors deliver performances that are almost too incredible to ponder. They often say the same lines over and over again, but often in slightly different ways or tones. How they manage to keep all of these repetitive lines straight is in itself an amazing feat in time and space. Both actors deserve multiple curtain calls and kudos of the highest rank.
So too, director Viv Berger deserves high praise for bringing this production to life on stage. Lief Smith’s set design, a multiple layering of platforms in asymmetrical patterns and Kate Moncuse’s vivid video design come together at a time and place in New Milford at TheatreWorks to create an unforgettable experience. Bravo to all who shared in making this production! “Constellations” runs through March 7. Box office: 860-350-6863.
Joanne Greco Rochman is a founding member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and an active member in the American Theatre Critics Association. She welcomes comments. Contact: email@example.com.