“In the quantum multiverse, every choice, every decision you've ever and
never made exists in an unimaginably vast ensemble of parallel universes...
Imagine rolling a dice six thousand times.”
– Marianne, Constellations
The University of South Carolina Department of Theatre and Dance will wrap up its 2020-21 theatre season with the award-winning drama Constellations by Nick Payne, April 22-25 at Longstreet Theatre.
Show times are at 8pm nightly. Tickets will be available only for the purchase of a single seat or a pair of seats, with single seats priced at $10 and seat pairs $20. Tickets may only be purchased online. Tickets will not be sold on location. Longstreet Theatre is located at 1300 Greene St. Enter the theatre from the rear breezeway off of Sumter St. Constellations contains adult language and themes that may not be suitable for children.
As with all the department’s in-person performances this year, COVID-19 mitigation efforts will continue to be implemented. In addition to socially distanced seating, facial coverings will be required of all audience members, performers and theatre staff. To help ensure distancing, patrons will be seated upon entering the building and asked to leave immediately after the performance. Patrons are asked to monitor their own health and not attend if they have been previously diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days, have been in contact with anyone diagnosed with the virus or are exhibiting any symptoms of illness. The theatre will be cleaned before each performance.
There are countless ways that relationships can suddenly change, and Nick Payne’s remarkable drama takes that reality to the nth degree. Incorporating the mind-bending concept of the “multiverse,” Constellations innovatively portrays the romance between a British couple, quantum physicist Marianne and beekeeper Roland, with scenes often repeated to present the countless paths their relationship might take. The arc of their journey brings to mind questions about the roles of choice and fate in our own lives, and demonstrates the infinite power of love. “Who knew that higher physics could be so sexy, so accessible—and so emotionally devastating?” – The New York Times
In 2012, Constellations received the London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Play and was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New Play. Its 2015 Broadway production was nominated for three Drama League Awards, including Best Play.
“It’s a typical boy meets girl story, but the way it’s presented to the audience makes it complicated,” says director Cat Thomas, a first-year MFA Directing candidate. “We see essentially eight scenes, but multiple versions of those scenes occur.”
The multiverse theory proposes that our observable universe is just one of an infinite number of universes containing parallel versions of our reality. “If you take out the quantum multiverse aspect,” Thomas says, “it’s a very simple script that is realistic and conversational. It's comical, heart-breaking and thought-provoking -- everything a typical relationship can be.”
As the play progresses, the audience sees how each character’s decisions affect their individual lives and the ultimate trajectory of their relationship. Thomas says the vast number of possibilities keeps the audience in constant suspense. “The whole point is that we aren’t supposed to know what’s going to happen,” she says. “We have to treat each of these multiverses as if they are reality because the theory is that they are all real and existing at the same time. Even though I have my theory on what’s real or not -- and the actors have their theories, as well – we play the truth in every single scene.”
Adding to the challenges of performing a two-person show, the actors in the production will be masked and at least six feet apart at all times. It’s a limitation that Thomas says actually helps the storytelling.
“Telling this story with the actors masked and remaining six feet apart has worked to our advantage. In these COVID-19 times, we have all been craving physical connection, but the ways in which these characters must connect are deeper on a psychological and emotional level, and that is emphasized by the distance between them."
Performing in the production are undergraduate students Asaru Buffalo as Roland and Jordan Pontelandolfo as Marianne. Designers for the production are undergraduates Alexander Von Klar (lighting), Michael Taylor (costume) and Jordan Postal (sound).
“It’s different than anything you’ve ever seen,” says Thomas. “It’s simple and extravagant at the same time and keeps you on your toes. It goes from scene to scene and multiverse to multiverse so quickly that hopefully the audience will be on the edge of their seats.”
For more information on Constellations or the theatre program at the University of South Carolina, contact Kevin Bush by phone at 803-777-9353 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.