Review: Constellations

Constellations; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday, 7 p.m. Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday, 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; $26-$38. B Street Theatre, 2711 B Street; (916) 443-5300; Through July 30.
Rated 4.0

Constellations is a love story between two people, Marianne and Roland, who meet at a party and begin a romance. Or they meet at a bar. And there is no romance. Or there are sparks, but one is already in a relationship. Or they don’t really like each other. Or they do, but once they get together, they break up. But maybe they don’t. They get married. But tragedy happens. Or it never happens because they never get together.

Playwright Nick Payne presents a poignant, powerful and playful play using theoretical physics, where there are different outcomes occurring at the same moment, maybe in different universes, where one small action or choice may alter whole life dynamics.

Though the premise and the play sound a bit convoluted and esoteric, if you allow yourself to be swept away with a suspension of disbelief, or belief in alternate realities, the simple-yet-complex story, poetic language and beautifully nuanced performances of the two actors might transport you into another sphere.

Dana Brooke is Marianne, a theoretical physicist, and Tom Patterson is Roland, a beekeeper and love interest who keeps revolving around her universe. And at each of the altering moments, the two actors move their positions and emotions, sometimes slightly, other times abruptly.

Brooke and Patterson are a charming, cohesive pair, who masterfully dance and orbit through the play’s ever-changing moods and outcomes.

The staging is exquisitely simple—a backdrop of a night sky with ever-changing constellations and star clusters, each representing a shift of reality, or realities, or never-beens.