Categories: THE BUZZ

Constellations, from London to San Diego

Christian Coulson stars as Roland and Victoria Frings as Marianne in Nick Payne’s Constellations, directed by Richard Seer, April 9 – May 8, 2016 at The Old Globe. Photo by Jim Cox.
Christian Coulson stars as Roland and Victoria Frings as Marianne in Nick Payne’s Constellations, directed by Richard Seer, April 9 – May 8, 2016 at The Old Globe. Photo by Jim Cox.

Constellations, from London to San Diego

By Alejandra Enciso

Many things come to mind when watching theatrical pieces that make you think and ask questions. The power of the performing arts is so great. If more people (especially younger generations) would just go with the flow and let themselves be immersed in a show such as Constellations, it would rock their boats. A piece written by British playwright Nick Payne that has traveled from London to Spain, then Chile, and Mexico City in the course of the past four years, is now in San Diego as part of The Old Globe’s current season. Running now until Sunday May 8th.

What would happen if you threw the dice more than a thousand times? What about those ‘what if’s? – going all Stephen Hawking here, which totally fits because Marianne (Victoria Frings) is a Physicist at Cambridge University who meets beekeeper Roland (Christian Coulson) at a barbecue. Bringing on the references as I usually do, Alanis Morisette’s song ‘Ironic’ played in my head while watching the piece. “It’s like meeting the man of your dreams and then…meeting his beautiful wife” the song says. In their first encounter, Marianne finds Roland cute and tries to start a conversation in which he lets her know he’s getting a drink for his wife. But what would happen if there wasn’t a wife? Boom! that is the following scenario. How would their relationship be if they became a couple? How many outcomes can two people have with the infinite possibilities offered by the universe? Like particles floating through the wind…

The piece stays true to its original model, delivered with a British accent. A one act with different rhythms. Starting fast and demanding focus, otherwise making it hard to catch the gist; then a bit slow from the middle to the kind of -there- very open to interpretation, ending. I felt that ‘the possibilities or outcomes’ were not even between the two people. Marianne is presented with one condition in many different scenarios. While Roland, has different conditions with different scenarios. That is a playwright issue, I am just venting. But Richard Seer’s direction discovers its shine through the use of mannerisms, shifting vocal tones and expressions as well as the movement between Bradley King’s Lighting Design, Fitz Patton’s Sound Design and David Huber’s Vocal Coaching. A well-orchestrated melody that again, pushes that train of thought.

David Israel Reynoso’s set design, simple and fitting like a constellation on the floor where the actors lay and sit down and walk. This is a perfect design for both the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre and this type of piece, being that they present the more ‘experimental’ contents in this space. Victoria and Christian show great rapport and went along with this whole vibe of just having two actors onstage with no change of costume, or scenery. It is a tough job to deliver. Two average people on an average weekend (it was a weekend in my head) ‘illustrated’ by Elisa Benzoni’s Costume Design.

I advise you to go and see Constellations. Especially if you are one of those ‘what if’ people. Or just question your mission in this world. Ticket prices start at $29 dollars and can be purchased HERE.
POST-SHOW FORUMS: Tuesday, April 26, and Wednesday, May 4. Discuss the play with members of the cast and crew following the performance. FREE
BOX OFFICE WINDOW HOURS: Noon to final curtain Tuesday through Sunday. American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and VISA accepted. (619) 23-GLOBE [234-5623].

LOCATION: The Old Globe is located in San Diego’s Balboa Park at 1363 Old Globe Way. Free parking is available throughout the park. Valet parking is also available ($12).

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