Constellations By Nick Payne
Directed by Kathleen Capdesuñer
Rollins Players at The Fred Stone Theater
Rollins College, Winter Park FL

Life is pretty random, and love even more so. Roland (Casey Casteel) is a bee keeper and a good looker, Marianne (Brianna Barrett) is one of those geek girls slogging thought a career in quantum astronomy. They meet, hook up, marry, split, reunite, and suffer tragedy, just as all couples do. It’s just that each stage of the relation is presented as a quantum mechanical goulash of potential outcomes. At their meeting, Roland may or may not have a wife. Half way along one or the other or both may or may not have cheated. Marianne may or may not have a tumor that may or may not be fatal and Roland may or may not stick it out with her to the end. In other words, this is a classic multiverse implementation of romance where a multitude of contradictory states all exist together until the writer makes a measurement; then the story line collapses into the one, true plausible reality.

This is a student-only production, but it achieved the intensity and charm one would expect from this 2012 London hit. Casteel is young and witty, Barrett is intellectual yet loveable, and together this couple reminded me of feuding friends that you wish would just sort things out and live peaceably. Capdesuñer takes them all over the stage: motion flows down the thrust and almost behind the audience giving the show of constant energy that papers over the lack of intermission. The set is simple; chalk boards have indecipherable words and phrases in any language but English, and some wire construction debris provides a modicum of shielding for the more intimate speeches. The only problem here is the noise level of the Fred Stone; there’s an air handler laying down a haze of white noise over this otherwise laudably tragic-comedy of a romance. Sit down close, get your own slice of the intimacy.

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