Mar 07

Alberta Theatre Projects’ Constellations explores the possibility of love in pieces

by Jenna Shummoogum · 0 comments

Do you ever ask ‘what if’? What if you had got there an hour later? What if you had answered differently? What if a butterfly flaps its wings in Japan?

Nick Payne’s Constellations examines and plays out most of the possibilities. It’s a world of parallel universes – a multiverse – where every single minute decision changes what we wind up experiencing. Alberta Theatre Projects’ production puts playing out all the scenarios into the capable hands of Mike Tan and Jamie Konchak under the study direction of Valerie Planche to tell a love story that plays within all the possibilities, that has all the conversations you could have… you might have. We follow the unlikely pairing of Marianne (Konchak), a physicist and Roland (Tan), a beekeeper. We follow the possible and not possible within their relationship. It’s stop and go, it’s repetitious, and it’s beautiful.

Constellations is all about having every sentence be slightly changed. Tan and Konchak say the same lines 5 or 6 times within one scene, with a change in intonation or emphasis that creates a whole new level of meaning. It changes the energy between Marianne and Roland, it changes the spark between them and it changes how the audience feels about their relationship. David Fraser’s lighting design and Dave Clarke’s sounds design are critical elements to the play as the sound design indicates when a scene is restarting with the tinkering of piano keys and the lighting design allows the audience to understand the shifting of time.

David Fraser’s set design is full of strings which is quite fitting to Marianne’s job and the themes of the play. Konchak and Tan run around the periphery to set up new scenes and this element gives the production a bit of playfulness.

At times experiencing the same conversation multiple times is tiring and it would be more engaging if the repetition was broken up even more, but overall Constellations tells a beautiful story in pieces about how love can bring us closer together or pull us apart. It’s fascinating to watch.

Alberta Theatre Projects’ Constellations runs until March 17. More information is available online.

Photo Credit: Benjamin Laird Arts and Photos

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