52 Plays in 52 Weeks: Week 3

Constellations by Nick Payne

I love the story behind this week’s play choice. It’s one of those “one thing leads to another” and you’ve found something really cool type of stories. I follow this page on Facebook “Broadway Buzz.” All these thousand’s of kilometres away it manages to keep me updated with what is showing  so I can dream about being in New York and seeing a different show every night.

I’m always fascinated when film actors make their debut, treading the boards of the stage and recently they reported on Jake Gyllenhaal doing so very soon in If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet by, none other than, you guessed it, Nick Payne.

I love plays about families, which in Drama, tend to be the highly dysfunctional kind (cue August, Osage County) and so I was intrigued to know what this play was about.

Cue, Google.

So I had a bit of a surf around and found out that this Mr Payne had recently received the London Royal Court’s Harold Pinter Award in the UK, for his play Constellations, an annual award supporting newly commissioned dramatic works. I also love works that are critically acclaimed. They’re clearly reputable and worth spending time reading. I hate to waste my time on rubbish. Cue, to keep Googling. I found If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet, Constellations and several of his earlier works available for purchase. I thought to myself, “It’s going on my challenge list.” When I would read it however was another story because I’d already had a couple of other recommendations.

A few days later I started following the 2013 season launches for various theatre companies one of which was the MTC (Melbourne Theatre Company). Lo and behold what is showing next year, but Constellations. I’m telling you, all the signs, were pointing to me needing to read this play. Which is rather ironic considering the subject matter of the play.

Another reason for me doing this challenge is because I want to see more theatre so I think this play is the perfect opportunity to head down to Melbourne.

My intended play for this week Five Women Wearing the Same Dress had to be postponed until I could actually get a copy (no digital copy of that one I’m afraid) so I decided now was a good a time to give my Kindle its first run and to read Constellations.

It’s the story of Marianne and Roland and their relationship. Sounds simple enough but the way the play is structured has you thinking about choice, fate and the unexplainable. What I took away from reading it is that life really is essentially about choice and control and what you can and cannot control and that how you live your life, how honest you are can affect your interactions with others. That sometimes things happen for no real reason at all and lead you to something amazing. Such as, stumbling on this play. I’m really interested to see how this play will be staged. The dialogue is almost word for word repetitive in parts but with the character’s intentions differing depending on which parallel universe they are in. Creating those universes will be interesting to see. The tension between Marianne and Roland is palpable. In the end though, it comes down to the simplicity of possibly meeting someone wonderful and the unknown possibilities that could bring.

A beautiful read.

Image Credits: Aurora / Jason Ahrns / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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