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Theatre Firsts: Constellations

by Alyse Dan

Before going to see Constellations last week at Trafalgar Studios with my friend Beth, I was not sure what I was expecting to see. Perhaps a romantic love story or comedy. What I didn't expect was to leave the theatre that night contemplating where my life is meant to end up.

Through its smart dialogue and connections between nature and science, Constellations proved to be very thought provoking. The main premise is based on the theoretical scientific basis that there are probably an infinite number of universes that all coexist alongside the universe we are currently in. At any given moment, several outcomes can coexist simultaneously. (Note: this is probably where you begin to question every choice you have ever made - what if you didn't wake up this morning? What if you didn't read this blog? What if I never went to see Constellations? How would your life differ in another universe? And now your mind is blown).

                                            Classic snap outside the theatre                              Waiting in our seats for the show to start!

The two characters Marianne a scientist, (portrayed by the lovely Louise Brealey of Sherlock fame) and Roland a bee keeper (by Happy Valley's Joe Armstrong), play out a series of events from their first meeting to nearing the end of a relationship, playing out the different outcomes. The use of the two characters representing science and nature coming together was not lost on me. I thought it was clever a very clever idea on playwright Nick Payne's part to show the infinite possibilities that can coexist between the two. I can honestly say that I probably learnt more about cosmology and bee keeping than I ever would have. Tom Scutt's beautifully minimilist set design consisting of only white balloons was superb and effectively demonstrated the metaphor of multiple possibilities floating in space and time. (Of course, while I cannot claim that Scutt was trying to make this point - I am choosing to believe he was). Overall, the simplicity of the design aspects worked magnificently with the complex dialogue and theories presented.

If anything, this play makes you think about the possibilities life has and where they may lead you. Even if Jake Gyllenhaal was not in this production - it most certainly exceeded my expectations.

Once the show ended, I left the theatre questioning everything I know about my own reality, but I was sure about one thing: this play is worth going to see in this universe or any other.

                                   Happy (and contemplating life) after the show                       Beth had a great time too!

Constellations is playing at Trafalgar Studios until 1 August. Get your tickets here.