Constellations is a completely new play to me; I had no idea what to expect and walking into an auditorium to be faced with a black box open stage and carefully arranged balloons didn’t give me much more of a clue. What evolves over an hour and a quarter is a very intense, complex two- handed snapshot of human relationships and passions.
Paul Nelson’s expert direction ensures that every possible way of delivering the similar lines within each snippet of conversation between the two characters is explore, in every conceivable way from either protagonist’s perspective. It is not the easiest narrative to follow, as it is less Sliding Doors and more a fly-on-the-wall ‘docudrama’, flitting between different parallel universes in a non-linear fashion.
However, if it takes concentration from the audience to follow the sequence of events, imagine how complicated it must be for the actors themselves! With a stage stripped bare of any scenery, props or atmospheric lighting designs, there is nowhere for the two actors to hide. Becky Mills (Marianne) and Sean Beaumont (Roland) both handle the material with great depth of focus, exhibiting highly accomplished performance skills and characterisations as each interpretation of the scenarios is explored, eliciting every nuance of human interaction and communication through every gesture, facial expression and tone of voice. Each version of their individual character is totally believable and together they create completely credible couples.
If you want (or need) a light-hearted evening of escapist entertainment, then this isn’t for you; conversely, if you want to experience an extraordinary, poignant ride through the gamut of human emotions, then hold on to your hats – this is one heck of a ride.
Future performances (all at Lighthouse, Poole): 10 February at 8.00, 11 February at 2.00 and 8.00.