Constellations by Nick Payne
From London, to Broadway, to Ashland! ANPF was proud to present this special, one-night-only dramatic reading of the “spellbinding, romantic journey” of acclaimed play Constellations by British playwright Nick Payne.
Constellations, which debuted in London in 2012 and on Broadway in 2015, is the story of one couple’s relationship spread out over numerous tracks in multiple universes. “It’s hard to explain,” says the reading’s director and ANPF Associate Artistic Director Jackie Apodaca, “but easy–I think–to understand.”
ANPF’s presentation of Constellations starred Oregon Shakespeare Festival actors Daniel Jose Molina and Alejandra Escalante as Roland and Marianne, whose story begins with a simple encounter that then delves into the infinite possibilities of their relationship. Watching the various threads of their potential futures, audiences are asked to think about the difference between choice and destiny. Molina and Escalante are already known to audiences as the intense rivals in OSF’s current production of Henry IV, Parts One and Two, as well as the romantic leads in Romeo and Juliet, produced at OSF in 2012.
A New York Times review raved about Constellations as perhaps “the most sophisticated date play Broadway has seen” and described its universal appeal: ”This story of parallel universes is universal in every sense of the word.”
“Who knew that higher physics could be so sexy, so accessible—and so emotionally devastating? Constellations, Nick Payne’s gorgeous two-character drama…may be the most sophisticated date play Broadway has seen. [Payne is] a wise and compassionate young playwright…And though Constellations is a supremely articulate play, it knows that words inevitably fail, that they are never enough to bind two people together forever. Time, it turns out, is a more effective breaker of hearts than human beings, with all their conflicted intentions, can ever be. This story of parallel universes is universal in every sense of the word.” —The New York Times
Constellations Playwright a Word-Smithing Star
“With just a pair of black music stands and their own intrepidity to prop themselves up, Escalante and Molina dug into issues as diverse as betrayal, revenge, the first flush of love, terminal illness, family dynamic, and the cruel isolation of everyday life that anyone who has loved and lost would find excruciatingly relatable. The pair riff off of each other like Monk and Coltrane, and it’s not hard to see why they are currently among the brightest stars on Bardway.”
“Direction by Jackie Apodaca was seamless, and staging by Rachel Kostrna was deft. Each brief interaction between the players is punctuated by exquisite cello accompaniment from Isabella Thatcher, who was sensitive enough to choose Bach as a strong referential melody that suited the action perfectly.
Everyone involved brought their best, and Payne is a contemporary voice to be reckoned with, so it’s no surprise that Constellations was a triumphant evening of intimate theater for those of us lucky enough to attend. Let’s hope Ashland New Plays Festival will continue to move in this direction. Constellations was a worthwhile night for all involved.”
By Nick Payne
Directed by Jackie Apodaca
Monday, May 8, at 7:30 p.m.
Unitarian Center, 87 Fourth Street, Ashland
For more information and photos, visit the Facebook event page.