Is love fated to happen? What kind of love will it be? Is there more than one way to experience this love?
“Constellations” is a complex, intriguing, and, at times, frustrating journey into a couple’s love story seen through various parallel universes. The play explores the idea of how a relationship can change if different choices were made. However, some events are still fated to happen. We can only control our response and our own intentions.
Marianne (Cara Ricketts) is a physicist who falls in love with a beekeeper, Roland (Graham Cuthbertson). Marianne believes that the universe exists in multiple varieties of motion. She studies the constant microscopic changes of the physical environment. Roland sees the world from the outside- or at least the tiny world of bees and life in the hive. He studies behaviour as a whole. In spite of or because of these differences, the couple love and complement each other.
As the relationship moves forward, the couple’s story is told in multiple realities, revealing the infinite possibilities and outcomes. Each version portrays the couple with diverse emotional investments: furtive, passionate, violent, or ambivalent. The dialogue is repetitious as the stories replay from various points of view. The shift from one reality to another is indicated by a bell. Sometimes the tone of the scene doesn’t change and can seem confusing as to which “version” of the couple is presented.
A turntable at the centre of the stage moves the couple through the different areas of their relationship. The centre of the turntable acts as a nucleus where the centre of gravity exists and at times pushes the couple apart; the circumference spins at different speeds as events intensify or move forward. The mirrored backdrop reflects the couple moving in opposite directions. At times, they seem suspended in space.
Ms. Ricketts is compelling and vivacious as a woman cautious but eager for love. Mr. Cuthbertson is marvelous as a man willing to jump in if there was room for him. Both actors have wonderful chemistry and they beautifully portray the longing for intimacy. The moody and atmospheric music is provided by cellist Jane Chan, setting the right tone.
Love can manifest itself in many varieties, each story as unique as the stars in the sky. The love that is present in this reality should be treasured. After all, life may not always be greener on the other side of the universe.
Photos by Andrée Lanthier
“Constellations”: Presented by Centaur Theatre Company and a Co-Production with Canadian Stage Company (Toronto). Directed by Peter Hinton. Written by Nick Payne. Show continues to October 30, 2016 at the Centaur Theatre, 453 St-François-Xavier, Old Montreal. Tickets $51.00 to $28.00. Call the box office at 514-288-3161 or go to www.centaurtheatre.com